Dec. 10, 2009
The University of Washington was recognized recently by the American Football Coaches Association as one of just two Pac-10 Conference football programs to graduate 75 percent or more of its student-athletes.
Overall, the Washington athletics program graduated 84 percent of its athletes for a six-year period ending with the entering class of 2002-03, its highest rate since the NCAA began calculating with what it calls a "graduation success rate" five years ago. The Huskies' rate is 5 percent higher than the national average in that span, and second in the Pac-10 to Stanford's 94 percent.
The football team registered a 69 percent graduation success rate, the second-highest in the Pac-10.
This year's recognition marks the second 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.
40 other institutions were recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. 11 of those institutions -- Alabama, Boston College, Connecticut, Duke, Miami, Navy, Northwestern, Notre Dame Penn State, Rice, Southern Mississippi -- achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 30 institutions were: Air Force, Army, Central Florida, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Marshall, Memphis, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, South Florida, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Troy, Tulane, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
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. The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.