New report shows varsity athletes continue to improve graduation rates
The new graduate numbers show that college athletes continue to graduate at higher rates than all students.
On Thursday, the NCAA released its annual graduate pass rate report which shows college athletes who entered school from 2011-12 to 2014-15 graduated at a rate of 89%, 21 points more than the federal graduation rate – and well above the 80% target set by the late NCAA President Myles Brand when he first presented the report in 2002.
The 90% single-year calculation also matched last year’s record.
NCAA figures include athletes who remain academically eligible and graduate after transfer. Federal figures do not take into account students who graduate from a school other than the one where they first enrolled.
The two-decade comparisons were up across the board.
The overall rate has increased 16 percentage points over the past 20 years as the percentage of black athletes graduating from 56% to 80%; 94% of Hispanic athletes also graduate, a 13 point increase since 2002.
“Today’s announcement proves that college athletes take their student status seriously,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Critics argue that the NCAA numbers do not accurately reflect actual graduation results.
Individual sports experienced similar jumps compared to 2002.
The percentage of Division I male basketball players increased 28 points to 84%, with wrestlers increasing 24 points to 86% and baseball players improving 23 points to 88%. Football Bowl Subdivision players followed the trend, seeing their numbers increase by 18 points to 81%.
While this year’s rate among female FBS players held steady at 81%, the percentage of Division I female basketball players graduating increased 2 percentage points to 94%.
Female athletes also continue to outperform their male counterparts, 94% to 85%, but college administrators were impressed with the overall results.
âDivision I student-athletes are successful in the classroom and we celebrate their accomplishments with them,â said Dianne Harrison, chair of the NCAA Academics Committee. “We want every student to realize their full academic potential and graduate.”