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

African-American players.

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

adolescents.

”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

improvement.”

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

students.

”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

counterparts.

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

student athletes.

”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

below 925.

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

989.

The NCAA created the APR system in 2004 to more accurately

measure student-athletes’ academic success and graduation

rates.