Wednesday October 10, 2007

A Perfect Tally

Nine Flyer teams tallied perfect graduation rates in the latest Graduation Success Rate report released by the NCAA.

Nine University of Dayton sport programs achieved a perfect 100 percent graduation success rate in a newly released report by the NCAA. All 15 of the programs that were included in the report ranked above their respective national averages.

According to the 2007 NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) Report, UD graduated 100 percent of its student-athletes who participated in women's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country/track and field, women's golf, women's rowing, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and volleyball.

Overall, 14 Flyer athletics programs earned a graduation success rate of 90 percent or higher. In addition to the nine programs listed above, the football program recorded a graduation success rate of 94 followed closely by men's soccer (93), softball (93), baseball (92) and men's golf (90). In addition, the men's basketball team had the second highest graduation success rate in the Atlantic 10 Conference at 82 percent.

The NCAA report captures the student-athlete graduation success rate in sports that offer scholarships. For those sports that do not offer athletic scholarships, the NCAA counts those student-athletes who are recruited.

"The academic success of our student-athletes is the single most significant marker of how we are doing as coaches and staff," said UD Vice President and Director of Athletics Ted Kissell. "We're pleased with the results and proud of the young people in our sports programs."

According to the 2006 NCAA Graduation Success Rate report, UD graduated 96 percent of its student-athletes overall who began their careers between 1996 and 1999.

At that time, the Flyers ranked first among Atlantic 10 institutions and joined the likes of Georgetown University, Boston College, Stanford University, Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame and Duke University as the schools best at graduating student-athletes.

Success in the classroom is nothing unusual for UD student-athletes. The Flyers' combined cumulative grade point average is above 3.0. In addition, UD has had 27 Academic All-Americans in the last six years. Also, at least one Dayton student-athlete has been named an Academic All-American for 22 straight years.

Dayton is consistently among the league leaders in placing student-athletes on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll, even though the Flyers participate in fewer A-10 sports than all but one school. UD also had the most players on the PFL Academic Honor Roll for the fifth straight year in 2006.

From 1995-2000, graduation success rates increased in many sports, including high-profile men's sports such as basketball, football and baseball, and high-profile women's sports such as basketball, ice hockey and soccer. Graduation Success Rates in men's basketball jumped nearly 8 percent.

NCAA President Myles Brand praised Division I student-athletes for their achievements in the classroom and on the field, adding that increased graduation success rates have led to 850 additional student-athletes from the 2000 cohort earning their degrees over students in the 1995 cohort. 

"NCAA student-athletes are students first, and, by and large, they are good students," he said. "They have been afforded the privilege of competing in their chosen sport while pursuing their studies as full-time students, and most of them are handling those twin responsibilities quite well."

The NCAA developed the GSR Report three years ago because the federal graduation rate does not credit institutions with student-athletes who leave in good academic standing or transfer students who later graduate.

The report accounts for both of those transfer groups, which has resulted in a more accurate depiction of student-athlete academic success since it captures about 35 percent more student-athletes than the federal methodology. Under the federal graduation rate, students who transfer to another institution are counted as non-graduates from their initial institution. At the same time, transfers who enter a new institution are not included in the federal calculation at all.