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NCAA Reports Rise in Black Athletes' Graduation Rate

November 9, 2017

The proportion of athletes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's top competitive division who graduated within six years of enrolling rose to 87 percent (by the NCAA's count) this year, continuing what has been a consistent increase since the association altered its approach to academic performance 15 years ago. This year's change was marked by a 3 percent increase from last year for African-American athletes, to 77 percent from 74 percent.

The 87 percent figure represents what the NCAA calls its Graduation Success Rate, which excludes athletes who leave their institutions while academically eligible to compete and includes those players who transfer into an institution, which the association characterizes as more accurately representing how students flow through college. The GSR numbers for most colleges are much higher than the federal graduation rates, which counts any student who leaves an institution as a non-graduate and does not track incoming transfers.

The federal graduation rate for all Division I athletes this year was 68 percent, compared to 66 percent for all students at colleges and universities that play Division I sports. Division I scholarship athletes in many ways ought to graduate at higher rates than their peers, given that their financial needs are largely met.


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