Rachel Axon, Sports Investigative Reporter, USA Today:
Well, the short answer is they can. Some of these counting methods are allowed under the rules. So you talked about double and triple counting, they will frequently count cross country indoor and outdoor track and field. So one female athlete can count two or three times. Take Florida State as an example, they had 13 men on their cross country roster, 43 on their women’s cross country roster. So when you multiply that out, it certainly looks like a lot more opportunities, even if they are not.
You mentioned the male practice players, the federal government allows that type of counting. Having these numbers out there is the best publicly available numbers allows those schools to avoid scrutiny, either in the form of a complaint to the federal government or in a federal lawsuit. So if they look better than maybe someone doesn’t do one of those complaints, they also know there’s effectively no enforcement from the federal government, even when they come in and investigate or do a compliance review, the worst that’s going to happen is they’re going to sign a resolution agreement, promise to fix it and have years to make these changes.