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NCAA Colleges Score

NCAA Colleges Score
January 20, 2006

For years, coaches and athletics officials have complained that the federal methodology for calculating graduation rates is unfair, because it counts against institutions those athletes who leave college in good standing and does not give the programs credit for athletes who transfer in and graduate. Those complaints mirror, to some extent, criticisms of how the federal rate applies to non-athletes, too, but the objections tend to be loudest about the athletes because of the significant scrutiny paid to the perceived academic underperformance of athletes, particularly in big-time sports.

To respond to those concerns, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, as part of its broad efforts to improve the academic performance of athletes, produced a new measure called the graduation success rate, which, like the federal rate, examines the proportion of a four-year institution's freshmen who earn a degree within six years. But unlike the federal rate, the NCAA graduation success rate excludes from the denominator those athletes who leave the institution in good academic standing (whether to go pro or to transfer to another college), and includes in the numerator those who transfer in to the institution and proceed to graduate.

"Given the mobility of today’s students, the GSR is simply a more defensible methodology,” says Todd Petr, the NCAA's managing director of research.

Last month, the NCAA released a team by team look at the new graduation success rate, but it withheld the rates for institutions overall until Thursday, when it also released the latest version of the federal rates.

Perhaps to no one's surprise, colleges look much better under the NCAA rate than they do under the federal rate: Over all in Division I, the new rate showed athletes who entered NCAA institutions from 1995 to 1998 graduating at a rate of 76 percent, 14 points higher than the federal rate.

And individually, fewer than 10 of the more than 300 Division I institutions had lower rates using the newly concocted measure than the federal one, as seen in the table at bottom. And some of the increases are quite eye popping. The federal graduation rate for Clemson University's athletes (53 percent), for instance, lagged significantly behind the rate for all students at the institution over the four-year period (71 percent). But the graduation success rate for Clemson athletes who entered during the same period soared to 97 percent.

The athletic graduation success rate for Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne was 75 percent, compared to 39 percent under the federal rate. And Campbell University's rate rises to 91 percent from 54 percent.

The higher numbers have led some critics to question whether the new NCAA is so enamored of the new rate not simply because it is fairer, as association officials emphasize, but because it makes the situation in college sports look so much better.

During a telephone news conference announcing the new rates Thursday, a reporter (OK, this reporter) asked Myles Brand, the NCAA's president, to respond to critics' suggestions that the new rate was a tactic to improve the NCAA's public relations.

"That's the most cynical point of view I've heard in a long time," Brand sputtered. "The claim to accuracy is critical important. You have to look at the federal rate in a way that disqualifies it."

Added Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford and chair of the NCAA's executive committee: "Our intention here is to try to give ourselves and the public an accurate picture of what's happening with the students."

Just because it has found a measure that shows the graduation rates to be better does not mean that the NCAA will not push ahead on its efforts to improve the academic performance of athletes, Harrison said. "The issue here is not breaking my arm to pat myself on the back, as my wife would say. It's to see what's the task ahead.... All of us want to be sure our athletes graduate at even higher rates."

Because this is the first year the graduation success rate is available, only the federal rate -- imperfect as it may be -- offers a glimpse at change (and possible improvement) over time. The statistics released by the NCAA Thursday put the overall graduation rate for Division I athletes who entered in 1998-99 at 62 percent, unchanged from the year before but two points higher than the rate for all students at the institutions.

Male athletes were slightly less likely to graduate than other students (55 percent vs. 57 percent for all students), and 43 percent of Division I basketball players, 54 percent of football players, and 71 percent of female athletes earned a degree in six years.

Athletes in Division II graduated at a rate of 54 percent, compared to 45 percent for all students at their institutions. In Division III, the 1998-99 rates were 67 percent for athletes and 62 percent for all students.

Below are college by college comparisons for the federal and NCAA graduation success rates:

Graduation Rates at NCAA Division I Colleges, Entering Classes 1995-98

Institution Federal Rate, All Students Federal Rate, All Athletes Graduation Success Rate
Alabama A&M U 37%      48% 48%
Alabama State U 22 45 55
Alcorn State U 45 43 88
American U 70 70 85
Appalachian  State U 61 59 73
Arizona State U 52 57 69
Arkansas State U 36 54 68
Auburn U 67 55 72
Austin Peay State U 30 49 65
Ball State U 49 72 89
Baylor U 71 67 90
Belmont U 56 62 78
Bethune-Cookman C 33 41 81
Birmingham -Southern C 74 77 91
Boise State U 25 53 72
Boston C 88 82 93
Boston U 74 72 92
Bowling Green State U 61 69 84
Bradley U 70 77 88
Brigham Young U 55 55 69
Brown U 95 n/a n/a
Bucknell U 88 92 94
Butler U 69 76 90
Cal Polytechnic State U San Luis Obispo 66 59 67
California State U at Fresno 44 45 56
California State U at Fullerton 47 44 59
California State Long Beach 41 46 64
Caifornia State U Northridge 31 32 53
California State U at Sacramento 39 46 63
Campbell U 45 54 91
Canisius C 64 73 89
Centenary C 55 46 93
Central Connecticut State U 42 56 65
Central Michigan U 51 63 76
Charleston Southern U 34 40 40
Chicago State U 16 18 54
The Citadel 69 66 95
Clemson U 71 53 97
Cleveland State U 26 43 84
Coastal Carolina U 37 47 92
Colgate U 89 87 93
Colorado State U 63 62 75
Columbia U 91 n/a n/a
Coppin State U 26 51 70
Cornell U 91 n/a n/a
Creighton U 71 70 95
C of Charleston 56 62 76
C of the Holy Cross 91 87 97
C of William and Mary 90 83 95
Dartmouth C 95 n/a n/a
Davidson C 91 92 97
Delaware State U 32 42 51
DePaul U 62 65 85
Drake U 70 64 83
Drexel U 57 71 79
Duke U 93 90 96
Duquesne U 70 77 87
East Carolina U 53 63 81
East Tennessee State U 37 53 72
Eastern Illinois U 63 68 80
Eastern Kentucky U 35 46 67
Eastern Michigan U 38 56 67
Eastern Washington U 46 49 78
Elon U 70 71 --
Fairfield U 79 80 94
Fairleigh Dickinson U 40 50 69
Florida A&M U 34 36 35
Florida Atlantic U 37 55 60
Florida International U 35 43 57
Florida State U 64 62 78
Fordham U 77 75 88
Furman U 82 74 93
Gardner-Webb U 48 44 44
George Mason U 37 54 77
George Washington U 75 71 90
Georgetown U 93 93 97
Georgia Inst of Technology 69 57 67
Georgia Southern U 37 53 72
Georgia State U 35 54 67
Gonzaga U 77 68 82
Grambling State U 34 55 53
Hampton U 55 60 79
Harvard U 97 n/a n/a
High Point U 56 61 89
Hofstra U 55 62 76
Howard U 57 60 62
Idaho State U 22 39 46
Illinois State U 58 61 73
Indiana State U 39 57 76
Indiana U at Bloomington 70 64 81
Indiana U-Purdue U. at Fort Wayne 20 39 75
Indiana U-Purdue U at Indianapolis 18 49 56
Iona C 52 64 76
Iowa State U 65 58 68
Jackson State U 36 38 46
Jacksonville State U 38 54 64
Jacksonville U 42 56 57
James Madison U 79 74 84
Kansas State U 57 53 74
Kent State U 47 63 77
LaSalle U 71 79 88
Lafayette C 85 81 94
Lamar U 29 44 60
Lehigh U 84 83 97
Liberty U 42 55 76
Lipscomb U 52 57 84
Long Island U 19 65 77
Louisiana State U 56 54 67
Louisiana Tech U 54 56 67
Loyola C (Md.) 81 76 95
Loyola Marymount U 72 69 81
Loyola U (Ill.) 67 81 83
U of Maine 56 60 59
Manhattan C 66 79 92
Marist C 73 74 88
Marquette U 76 82 94
Marshall U 37 58 78
McNeese State U 28 52 58
Mercer U 50 61 79
Miami U 80 70 73
U of Michigan 85 77 85
Michigan State U 70 66 76
Middle Tennessee State U 39 51 62
Mississippi State U 56 62 72
Mississippi Valley State U 37 49 52
Missouri State U 47 57 63
Monmouth U 52 70 92
Montana State U 44 57 69
Morehead State U 43 51 70
Morgan State U 39 54 62
Mount St. Mary's U 66 73 88
Murray State U 56 60 80
New Mexico State U 44 55 57
Niagara U 58 67 89
Nicholls State U 27 34 47
Norfolk State U 26 37 40
North Carolina A&T State U 43 49 50
North Carolina State U 64 54 68
Northeastern U 57 69 88
Northern Arizona U 47 50 62
Northern Illinois U 51 65 77
Northwestern State U (La.) 29 42 63
Northwestern U 92 86 97
Oakland U 47 53 54
Ohio State U 60 62 78
Ohio U 70 65 78
Oklahoma State U 56 50 65
Old Dominion U 41 58 71
Oral Roberts U 52 56 79
Oregon State U 59 57 73
Pennsylvania State U 82 80 87
Pepperdine U 76 64 79
Portland State U. 33 44 53
Prairie View A&M U 37 55 60
Princeton U 97 n/a n/a
Providence C 85 75 94
Purdue U 64 72 81
Quinnipiac C 66 79 78
Radford U 54 65 100
Rice U 91 83 93
Rider U 60 64 80
Robert Morris U 55 63 95
Rutgers U 72 65 75
Sacred Heart U 55 76 96
St. Bonaventure U 68 75 89
St. Francis C (NY) 56 65 74
St. Francis C (Pa) 60 68 87
St. John's U 66 66 87
Saint Joseph's U 75 86 93
Saint Louis U 71 70 85
St. Mary's C of Calif. 68 68 69
Saint Peter's C 44 71 79
Sam Houston State U 37 51 60
Samford U 69 67 86
San Diego State U 41 55 76
San Jose State U 38 44 57
Santa Clara U 82 76 86
Savannah State U 20 22 22
Seton Hall 58 62 82
Siena C 75 81 97
South Carolina State U 45 58 76
Southeast Missouri State U 49 52 66
Southeastern Louisiana U 24 51 67
Southern Illinois U at Carbondale 41 61 77
Southern Methodist U 71 74 88
Southern U 27 53 54
Southern Utah U 27 49 66
Stanford U 94 88 94
SUNY Albany 63 66 73
SUNY Binghamton 80 69 --
SUNY Buffalo 57 65 83
SUNY Stony Brook 55 57 71
Stephen F. Austin State U 36 49 61
Stetson U 63 66 91
Syracuse U 78 76 84
Temple U 49 63 73
Tennessee State U 35 66 87
Tennessee Technological U 44 55 69
Texas A&M U 75 63 73
Texas A&M U Corpus Christi 37 67 86
Texas Christian U 65 67 86
Texas Southern U 14 35 36
Texas State U San Marcos 46 56 66
Texas Tech U 53 59 77
Towson U 59 70 78
Troy U 54 53 81
Tulane U 74 70 79
U.S. Air Force Academy 79 -- 93
U.S. Military Academy 84 -- 95
U.S. Naval Academy 86 -- 99
U of Akron 37 54 67
U of Alabama Birm 38 56 65
U of Arizona 55 58 66
U of Arkansas at Fayetteville 48 41 60
U of Arkansas at Little Rock 21 38 67
U of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 29 48 49
U of California at Berkeley 84 67 73
U of California at Irvine 77 63 80
U of California at Los Angeles 85 62 70
U of California at  Riverside 65 67 68
U of California at Santa Barbara 72 72 78
U of Central Florida 52 45 80
U of Cincinnati 49 59 66
U of Colorado at Boulder 67 58 71
U of Connecticut 70 62 76
U of Dayton 75 83 94
U of Delaware 74 81 89
U of Denver 70 82 87
U of Detroit Mercy 53 64 81
U of Evansville 61 61 90
U of Florida 76 58 91
U of Georgia 71 55 65
U of Hartford 53 60 87
U of Hawaii 54 47 59
U of Houston 38 49 59
U of Idaho 53 53 68
U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 80 71 90
U of Illinois at Chicago 44 54 87
U of Iowa 65 69 75
U of Kansas 57 64 68
U of Kentucky 59 50 69
U of Louisiana at Lafayette 30 54 65
U of Louisiana at Monroe 29 46 62
U of Louisville 34 50 66
U of Maine 56 60 59
U of Maryland Baltimore County 54 65 87
U of Maryland College Park 51 69 76
U of Maryland Eastern Shore 43 63 92
U of Massachusetts Amherst 61 69 84
U of Memphis 33 45 63
U of Miami 67 60 77
U of Michigan 85 77 85
U of Minnesota Twin Cities 54 60 67
U of Mississippi 55 51 69
U of Missouri at Columbia 66 62 73
U of Missouri at Kansas City 44 51 86
U of Montana 43 60 68
U of Nebraska at Lincoln 57 63 77
U of Nevada at Las Vegas 38 38 53
U of Nevada at Reno 48 50 63
U of New Hampshire 72 78 90
U of New Mexico 43 47 59
U of New Orleans      
U of North Carolina Asheville 52 60 79
U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 81 70 80
U of North Carolina at Charlotte 48 59 76
U of North Carolina at Greensboro 49 67 83
U of North Carolina at Wilmington 60 77 86
U of North Texas 38 49 60
U of Northern Iowa 65 62 81
U of Notre Dame 95 90 98
U of Oklahoma 54 55 62
U of Oregon 60 64 75
U of Pacific 68 70 76
U of Pennsylvania 92 n/a n/a
U of Pittsburgh 64 57 74
U of Portland 69 64 82
U of Rhode Island 57 63 81
U of Richmond 83 84 97
U of San Diego 70 74 87
U of San Francisco 66 58 85
U of South Alabama 34 33 76
U of South Carolina 61 58 78
U of Southern California 78 61 67
U of Southern Mississippi 52 67 76
U of South Florida 48 57 71
U of Tennessee at Chattanooga 43 54 53
U of Tennessee at Knoxville 59 55 71
U of Tennessee at Martin 39 42 61
U of Texas at Arlington 35 42 63
U of Texas at Austin 72 56 73
U of Texas at El Paso 26 35 42
U of Texas Pan American 25 32 58
U of Texas at San Antonio 27 41 61
U of Toledo 43 62 82
U of Tulsa 60 56 72
U of Utah 44 59 78
U of Vermont 67 70 85
U of Virginia 92 80 86
U of Washington 71 68 84
U of Wisconsin at Green Bay 43 58 90
U of Wisconsin at Madison 76 70 82
U of Wisconsin at Milwaukee 39 70 81
U of Wyoming 55 52 86
Utah State U 47 62 74
Utah Valley State C -- -- --
Valparaiso U 73 81 98
Vanderbilt U 84 77 93
Villanova U 85 80 95
Virginia Commonwealth U 41 44 78
Virginia Military Inst 67 53 67
Virginia Tech 74 70 83
Wagner C 71 63 82
Wake Forest U 86 76 94
Washington State U 61 61 70
Weber State U 37 52 93
West Virginia U 55 59 74
Western Carolina U 47 59 78
Western Illinois U 52 64 72
Western Kentucky U 43 55 76
Western Michigan U 54 65 74
Wichita State U 34 51 70
Winthrop U 55 65 85
Wofford C 78 71 92
Wright State U 38 60 73
Xavier U 75 79 93
Yale U 95 n/a n/a
Youngstown State U 37 62 70

 

 

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