TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, February 18, 2011

U.S. News: Villanova to Fall in 2012 Rankings After Reporting Accurate (and Lower) LSAT & GPA Medians

Villanova Logo Following up on my prior posts on the Villanova rankings scandal (here and here): Robert Morse (Director of Data Research, U.S. News & World Report), Villanova Law School Certifies Accuracy of New Data:

Earlier this month, Villanova Law School's new dean John Gotanda sent a letter to the school's alumni and others revealing "inaccuracies in the admissions data reported to the ABA by Villanova Law School for years prior to 2010." This same inaccurate admissions data was also reported to U.S. News by the school and was used to compute our law school rankings, but the full extent of the problem, which occurred under Villanova's prior administration, has not been determined or disclosed publicly yet.

The inaccurate data was the median LSAT and undergraduate grade point average for entering classes, both of which are used in the methodology for the U.S. News law school rankings. The LSAT has a weight of 12.5%, and the undergraduate grade point average counts for 10% percent. ...

U.S. News has given careful consideration to this issue and has decided we will not change our long-standing policy of not revising previously published rankings. ...

In order to include Villanova in the upcoming graduate school rankings, U.S. News asked Villanova's Gotanda to certify the accuracy of its fall 2010 admissions data in a letter. Here is a copy of that Feb. 10, 2011 letter to U.S. News certifying the accuracy of Villanova's fall 2010 admissions data. U.S. News will rank Villanova in our upcoming rankings and link its name to this letter so that the public has some understanding of what Villanova did and how the school plans to report accurately going forward.

How does the rankings data for the J.D. class entering in 2010 compare to the previous year's? The difference is significant enough between the older and newer data to have a meaningful negative impact on Villanova's upcoming ranking: For the fall 2009 entering class, Villanova reported inaccurately a median LSAT score of 162 and median undergraduate GPA of 3.44. For the fall 2010 entering class, Villanova certifies its median LSAT score was 160 and its median undergraduate GPA was 3.33.

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The problem is this is just one lie that happened to be caught because of a change in administrations. How many other lies are being told--and surely not only by Villanova--that remain uncovered? As long as Taxprof and others treat law schools as the equivalent of the BCS Football Poll, people will have an incentive to lie and will probably continue to do so.

Posted by: mike livingston | Feb 18, 2011 6:37:43 AM

Shouldn't they at least be prevented from playing in a bowl game? Maybe they should have to give up some scholarships as they recruit their next class.

Posted by: Richard Gershon | Feb 18, 2011 7:55:06 AM