Football's Grad Rate Recognized

  • By Mike Montoro
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  • December 08, 2010 03:21 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University was one of 13 institutions from across the country that was recognized for graduating 90 percent or more of its football student athletes.

“The most important mission we have here at West Virginia University is to graduate our student athletes,” Associate Athletic Director for Student Services Garrett Ford said. “This honor is certainly a tribute to our coaches and the support we receive from the University academic community. We have a great system in place and none of this is possible without the coaches, parents and more importantly the student-athletes doing their part.”

Northwestern and Rice share the American Football Coaches Association’s 2010 Academic Achievement Award. Northwestern and Rice recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2003.

This year’s award marks the third time the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR)?formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA. Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA’s Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.

Forty-two other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Thirteen of those institutions — Air Force, Army, Boston College, BYU, Duke, Iowa, Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Navy, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia —?achieved a rate of 90 percent or better.

The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.

The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA?and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees.

Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.

2010 Conference Breakdown of Winners and Honorable Mentions:?ACC- 6, Mountain West- 6, Big 10- 5, SEC- 5, Big East- 4, Big 12- 3, Conference USA- 3, Independents- 3, MAC- 3, Pac-10- 3, WAC- 2, Sun Belt- 1.