Graduation rates remain steadyfor NCAA scholarsh

Nov 22, 2000 10:00 AM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Graduation rates for NCAA Division I student-athletes who entered college in 1993 remained steady, continuing a trend established after higher initial-eligibility standards became effective for entering freshmen in 1986.

The Division I student-athlete graduation rate of 58 percent, which was the same as the previous year, remained two percent higher than the rate for the general student population. Since higher initial-eligibility standards were established, Division I student-athletes have graduated at a rate of 57 percent or 58 percent.

This is the eighth consecutive class that has met higher initial-eligibility standards (i.e. Proposition 48). Student-athletes who have entered college under Proposition 16 standards, which became effective in 1996, will not become part of the ongoing study for three more years.

The graduation rates for student-athletes in many sport categories by race and gender remained steady from the previous year. Notable increases occurred for Division I black females, including basketball players. Notable decreases occurred in Division I-A football, including white football players.

The graduation rate for Division I black female student-athletes increased from 53 percent a year ago to 57 percent, ending a three-year decrease. Division I black female basketball players graduated at a rate of 52 percent, three percentage points better than the previous year.

The graduation rate for Division I-A football players decreased from 51 percent to 48 percent, the lowest rate since the entering class of 1985, which also was 48 percent. The rate for Division I-A white football players was 55 percent, down six percent from the previous year, which is equal to the rate for the entering class of 1985.

Division I male basketball players showed a slight increase in graduation rates overall, and by race. The overall rate increased from 41 percent to 42 percent. The rate for Division I black male basketball players increased one percent, to 34 percent, and the rate for white male basketball players increased from 53 percent to 56 percent.

Overall graduation rates for Division I female basketball players increased by one percent, to 63 percent, stopping a three-year downward trend.

"We’re concerned about the decline in rates among football players. There’s been a slow steady decline in the overall rate for this group for a number of years," said NCAA President Cedric Dempsey. "We need to start looking at what some of the reasons might be for this decline."

The graduation rates data, as collected from all NCAA Division I colleges and universities are conservative representations of the graduation rate. Only student-athletes who enroll as freshmen, receive athletics related financial aid and graduate from that institution within six years of initial enrollment are tracked. Student-athletes who transfer in good academic standing to another institution count against their original institution as not graduating and are not counted in the freshman cohort rate for their second institution.

In many individual categories, student-athletes continue to graduate at rates higher than their student-body counterparts of the same racial and gender group.

For example, black female student-athletes graduated at a rate 15 percentage points higher than black females in the general student population, the largest differential in rates between student-athletes and the general student population. The graduation rate for black female student-athletes was 57 percent, a four percent increase from the previous year. The rate for black females in the general student body was 42 percent.

"Overall, these rates are similar to those we’ve been seeing for student-athletes for the past several years. For the most part, student-athletes are performing as well or better than other students in the classroom," said Dempsey. "This study is always one that is important for us as we monitor academic performance."

Continuing a trend, white female student-athletes and black male student-athletes continue to graduate at rates significantly higher than their counterparts in the overall student body. White female student-athletes were 10 percentage points above overall Division I rates for the 1993-94 class, with a graduation rate of 71 percent compared to the student rate of 61 percent. Black male student-athletes graduated at nine percentage points higher, 41 percent compared to a general student-body rate of 32 percent.

Highs and lows

Doing the best jobs in football, based on school standards were: Akron (an 87% rate for football, 32% for all males) and Eastern Michigan (53% for football, 28% for all males).

On the bottom of the list were Michigan (41% for football, 81% for all males) and Brigham Young (31% for football, 68% for all males).


As has been the case in previous years, Division I male basketball players and Division I-A football players graduate at rates significantly lower than their general student body counterparts. The 1993-94 rate for Division I male basketball players was 42 percent, compared to 54 percent for the Division I male student body; Division I-A football players graduated at a rate of 48 percent, compared to 57 percent for the I-A male student body.

Each year, the NCAA compiles and publishes graduation rates data for Divisions I, II and III member institutions. The Division I report is distributed to 27,000 high schools for use by guidance counselors, coaches, students and parents. The report also is sent to higher education leaders, members of Congress and the media. This year for the first time the NCAA is providing the report on CD-Rom only. The report is also available online by clicking on the enclosure below.