Details of student addresses, phone numbers, personal statements and injuries were accidentally leaked in an email sent by Ross Hamilton, the Sports Development Officer at Trinity Sport, according to The University Times.
The email was sent out to 168 applicants of Trinity Sport scholarships, 68 of whom received a scholarship this academic year.
The breached data is undergoing deletion, and according to Head of Trinity Sport Michelle Tanner, a report will be sent to the Data Protection Commission – a mandatory action as of May 25th this year, when the EU GDPR came into effect.
DCU Elite Athletic Scholarship recipients Sophie Becker and Kate McGowan spoke to The College View about whether such a data breach could leave room for deliberate manipulation during a competition by fellow athletes.
“Personally I don’t think it [the data breach of personal injuries] can give an unfair advantage to your competitors… perhaps in other sports like hockey or something they might but I don’t think anyone is that low and would go to that level to get an advantage over their competitors,” said Becker.
“It would be quite hard to use the information in our personal statements to your advantage. But I would be disappointed in the people involved if it were to happen,” said McGowan.
“It’s personal information and I wouldn’t like everyone to be able to access it… It may be different to people involved in team sports with regards to injury, there isn’t any contact in athletics so it would be hard to use an injury against someone”.
Earlier this year, The College View reported that students entering DCU through an Elite Athletic Scholarship dropped by 62 per cent between the academic years 2016/17 and 2017/18; with just 35 scholars in the latter years versus 93 respectively.
“The application process was competitive, there’s a lot of talent in athletics in Ireland at the minute particularly in sprinting so a certain standard was needed to get a scholarship,” said Becker.
“The number of applicants for sports scholarships increases every year so it’s getting more and more competitive,” said McGowan.
The Trinity Sport scholarships are sponsored by Bank of Ireland and authorize financial grants of up to €3,500 to the most outstanding athletes. All recipients receive access to high-performance training, nutritional support, and physiology analysis.
This year, Trinity Sport offered scholarships in fencing, cricket, sailing, hockey, rugby and Paralympic swimming.
The Senior Sports Development Officer at DCU Yvonne McGowan did not respond to a request for comment in time for print.
Image Credit: Der Roberts Flickr