Trinity Sport accidentally leaked personal information and statements of 168 applicants for the College’s sports scholarships, in an email sent out to this year’s sports scholars.
In the email, which was obtained by The University Times, students were asked to fill in a form attached to accept their scholarship. However, a spreadsheet containing details of sports scholarship applications – including personal statements, email addresses and details of injuries – was accidentally attached instead.
The spreadsheet included an “outcome” column, where Trinity Sport specified what type of scholarship students received, with “pod”, “academy” and “perf” beside some names – indicating podium, academy and performance scholarships.
Thirty-five applicants, only one of whom received a scholarship, had “BS” written in the outcome column.
Responding to a question about the meaning of “BS”, Head of Trinity Sport Michelle Tanner said in an email statement to The University Times: “In the best interest of the students concerned and as per the Data Protection Act and the College Data Protection Policy, we will not be commenting on anything further in relation to this matter.”
The email to sports scholars was sent by Ross Hamilton, the Sports Performance Development Officer at Trinity Sport. An hour later, Hamilton sent a follow-up email asking students to delete the attachment: “You can delete the previous email attachment as it was not the right one. See attached the right one.”
Tanner said: “Trinity Sport sent information in error to a number of sports scholarship student applicants. As soon as we realised the error, we have and are taking steps to ensure this data is deleted and have made the College Data Protection Officer aware of the data breach.”
“All students whose information was miscommunicated in error to others and those who received the information in error have been contacted. Further measures will also be taken to prevent this from happening again”, she said.
Tanner said that a report would also be made to the Data Protection Commission.
The spreadsheet also included home addresses, student numbers, phone numbers and whether or not the students receive any other grants or bursaries.
This year, 68 students were awarded sports scholarships, with Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) dominating the list once again.
Sports scholarships are awarded to Trinity’s highest performing athletes. Applicants must have an intention to compete at elite level in their sport and an intention to represent the College as part of a sports club.
There are four types of sports scholar in Trinity: academy, development, performance and podium. Some of these scholarships include financial support, with podium scholars receiving the most – €3,500. All scholars receive access to a high-performance training area, physiology analysis and nutritional support.