Disparity in graduation rates for bowl-bound teams
A study of this year’s bowl-bound schools reveals they are
graduating white players at a significantly higher percentage than
The average graduation success rate for African-American
football players at the bowl-bound schools is 65 percent compared
to 84 percent for whites, according to the annual report released
Monday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the
University of Central Florida.
Richard Lapchick, principal author of the study and director of
TIDES, said that the disparity largely a reflection of the lack of
quality education African-American players are receiving as
”The news is really about America’s problem of solving the
disparities between African-Americans and whites in society,”
Lapchick said. ”Things like graduation rates keep getting better
for both African-Americans and whites but that gap (between them)
can take the heart out of the good news about the
Lapchick said the lack of quality education in primary and
secondary level school systems is a major part of the problem.
”They get behind and it makes it tough for them to catch up in
college,” he said.
Lapchick pointed out the most disturbing fact of the study is
only 37 percent of the bowl-bound schools graduated 66 percent or
more of African-American student-athletes. However, 99 percent of
those same schools graduated at least 66 percent of white
”That’s appalling,” he said.
Also, 23 percent of this year’s bowl-bound schools also had
graduation success rates (GSRs) for African-America players that
were at least 30 percentage points lower than their white
Georgia, North Dame, Rice, Duke and Utah State were the only
schools that had higher GSRs for their African-American football
players than for white football players.
Only Boise State and Rice had overall GSRs for football players
that were better overall compared to student-athletes overall.
Rice and Boston College led the way overall in terms of
graduation rates, according to the study.
Both schools graduated at least 94 percent of all football
players and at least 93 percent of African-American football
”Rice and Boston College would have played for the national
championship if there was a national championship game based on
graduation success rates among bowl teams,” Lapchick said.
As for this year’s the two national championship contenders,
Florida State graduated 58 percent of all football players and 50
percent of African-American football players. Auburn graduated 70
percent of its football players and 53 percent of its
African-American football players.
The GSR measures graduation rates of Division I schools after
four years and includes students transferring into the
institutions. The GSR also allows schools to subtract athletes who
leave before graduation, as long as they would have been
academically eligible to compete if they remained.
According to the study, TIDES reviewed the six-year graduation
rates of each school’s freshman class that enrolled in 2006-07, and
then calculated a four-class average from 2003-07.
In terms of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR), the study
found that 97 percent of the bowl-bound schools received scores of
925 or higher. Louisville was the only bowl-bound team with an APR
The Atlantic Coast conference had five schools in the top 15 in
APR, while the Big 10, Southeastern Conference and American
Athletic Conference each had two schools.
Boise State had the highest APR at 993, while Duke was second at
The NCAA created the APR system in 2004 to more accurately
measure student-athletes’ academic success and graduation