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Graduation Rate Between SEC vs. ACC Schools


The graduation rate surveys were done by the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) to honor nine ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) schools. The schools had graduated over seventy percent of their football student athletes in the annual Academic Achievement Awards. Boston and Duke Colleges emerged in the top a hundred school ranking; in fact they had over ninety percent graduation rates. The Atlantic Coast Conference was on the lead with nine of its schools appearing on the honors list. Big East and Big twelve are among the Atlantic Coast Conference schools that captured four rankings.

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The Big ten and Conference United States of America got represented in each of the three schools. Moreover, three institutions namely Northwestern, Notre Dame and Southern Mississippi received ninety percent graduation rates for their football student athletes while California, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida State and Iowa States received seventy graduation rates. The total number of schools graduated was one hundred and four with an overall graduation rate of fifty eight percent, fifty schools were above this average while fifty schools fell below the average. These were studies conducted in the years two thousand and one and two thousand flat. On the other hand, for the SEC schools the graduation rates were done by Bootleg Association. They used the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) to measure the degree of graduation for all student athletes.

These analyses were performed for the three major sports: basketball, football and baseball. Nineteen percent of the players in the university male basketball team and forty one percent of the male football players graduated.

The overall athlete students in Division I-A level’s graduation under this new method rose to seventy eight percent which would have fallen to sixty eight percent under the old type of ranking (federal ranking).

About ACC and SEC schools

We start by the analysis for the SEC schools. Several schools are worried on the way they are unable to graduate their players coupled with the wide racial gap between student athletes that is seen to be a hindering factor to the graduation process. In order for the Bootleg, an association that checks for the ranking of schools, to harmonize its findings they adopted the new method. This allowed could enable factory -like programs to encounter huge defection numbers without having a hit on their rates of graduation.

This method of graduation bases its results on the aggregate rates of the four latest groups which their data is available. It is observed that Stanford has enjoyed a lead in the football in the Pac. Ten category but Cal’s rate of graduation has continued to drop and has always stayed at the bottom of the SEC schools ranking.

Another issue of concern is the performance of the groups of schools commonly known as SEC’s traditional giant is trailing behind. These groups of schools are Alabama, LSU and Georgia which are lying below fifty percent in the category. A more dismal performance is observed with Texas which only graduates only forty percent of its players in football.

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These figures are seen to be in sharp contrast with those of the Navy which has carried the lead in football graduate for two consecutive years. A more outstanding performance was observed with Stanford which moved from ninety two percent to ninety four percent in its graduate record this year.

Clemson also broke the record when it made it to the list of top ten schools last year only to drop to fifteenth position with an average of seventy seven percent in the number of graduates and had its position replaced by Duke.

Shocking results

A major problem is observed with the state of San Jose which is observed to be appearing in the bottom list almost every year. This is worsened by its absolute bottom position which it has landed in last year in the Division I-A schools ranking. It has also had the worst performances in graduation rates of basket thus enjoying the worst rates of graduation in the major sports (football and basketball) for two years running.

Texas and Alabama also appeared in the bottom ten rankings this year making their appearance in this category to be for two years running. Another shocking fact when the comparison between African American student athletes and the white student athletes is done is that there are considerably huge gaps which report a major problem in disparity as far as the NCAA sports are concerned. African American student athletes who happen to enjoy scholarships end up not experiencing the hope of college education.

In general football players have a remarkable improvement in the overall rates of graduation. However, there is a great gap since we have schools that have maintained the bottom position while the top also enjoy the position every year. This causes a sharp contrast in the ranks.

For Basketball, Stanford dropped from the top position and replaced by Washington and recorded a reduction in the number of graduates from ninety percent to sixty four percent. It is observed that basketball rates of graduation are not promising with only a mean of fifty seven percent.

Change of rules

An outstanding performance is observed with Wake Forest and Florida which recorded a one hundred percent rates of graduation for two years running up to this year with Stanford falling out of top ten bracket this year which eliminates a representation for Pac in the competition.

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Georgia and Mexico had graduation rates ranking them in the bottom ten of the list appearing in positions one and two respectively. So it is observed that there are huge margins between rates of graduation in the basketball more than all the sports in consideration.

Baseball also has its rates of graduation affected by the new ranking strategy with the giants like Florida State reporting eighty percent ranking, Long Beach reports sixty percent ranking and South Carolina reporting sixty six percent ranking in the number of the graduates. However this figures a present huge disparity which means the new grading program loses greater transfer numbers for other schools.

We take a look at the figures in baseball (Terrlob). The federal method of ranking produced an average of forty three percent while with the new method, GSR an average of sixty five percent for the Division I-A schools last year. These records provide an overall improvement by twenty two percent. The nationally ranked schools; Rice and Stanford topped the group with most schools appearing in the top ten lists this year and are the same that appeared last year.

At the bottom of the list this year is Georgia and still, cases of racial margins are still evident in the schools’ type of grading. For instance, it is observed that the athletes at Florida who happen to be African American are eight hundred and eighty five while in Georgia they are only thirty two percent. In conclusion we say that basketball had the highest number of graduates than any other sport among the three in the SEC schools ranking.

Next, we consider the rankings for the Atlantic coast conference schools. Those schools that cannot manage to make fifty percent. of their student athletes graduate in the first five years covered receives warnings and be denied scholarships or even elimination from the tournaments. The schools could even lose the revenue benefits enjoyed by the members of the conference.

The two thousand and three to two thousand and four statistics indicate that most schools would face penalties come next year following their performances this year which was considered dismal. On average, the number of graduates in the three games, football, basketball and football lies less than sixty seven percent which is roughly estimated at nine hundred and twenty five in number.

However, it is observed that schools which were chosen for football and basketball tournaments last year did not reach the graduation limit of at least fifty percent and these were estimated to be roughly eighty three schools. Despite these dismal performances, the schools are still believed to be doing extremely well in the sports that are considered to be the major ones or the most important ones. For instance in men’s football Clemson and Miami emerged the champions in the last years football championship while Maryland and Virginia are the holders of baseball tournaments with average of eighty eight percent and eighty four respectively in last year’ s tournament. This was regarded as a great improvement for Maryland which had an average of zero percent of graduates in basketball in two thousand and nineteen ninety seven. Also Terp’s basketball team is ranked at position one hundred and five in their graduation list from last year up to this year (Gregory). On the other hand, women’s basketball team in Maryland also has been ranked in position seven whereby it has an overall of seventy eight percent graduates produced in the previous year

Rationale used in ranking

The rates of graduation are always calculated or prepared with an inclusion of a six year allowance period so as to enable student athletes to be able to conclude their degree from the enrollment date. This was last done in two thousand and one for the GSR method of ranking. Students who happen to have sought complete transfers are given exclusion. Schools which produce extremely high graduation rates are evaluated accordingly. For instance, the case of Alabama in two thousand and one, its men’s basketball teams’ graduation rate of ninety eight percent was seen as outweighing the normal or accepted standards for the undergraduate course completion.

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Its record was seen as outdoing the Vanderbilt’s highest ever of seventy five percent graduation standards. This caused Alabama to have twenty of its sports nullified and were not used in the rankings until the year two thousand and six when it had acceptable results. This forced two footballers who got enrollment in Alabama that year to have their graduation seven years later. Also on football, a footballer after the signing of the class should not graduate from transfers based on good academic standings. On the criteria used to rank the number of graduates, it was changed from the old type of ranking to the new one which was proved to be the better one because it allowed schools with low performance to improve by giving a complete overhaul in their programs.

Even with the adoption of the new strategy NCAA still expects schools to give notifications on their number of graduates using the two methods, the federal and the GSR. Also as much as school may experience overall improvement, it should not go beyond thirteen percent in a year. For matters of consistency the GSR is normally used rather than the federal.

The purpose of this study is to ensure quantification of the percentage of student athletes graduating six years after their enrolment which they do as “freshmen”. The NCAA body however only publishes the GSR specifically for the athletes. Limitations and delimitations of the ranking method

Firstly, it does not give the analysts a chance to directly compare the difference between GSR per student and the overall GSR for the whole population. It produces huge racial gaps that may be considered inconsistent


Athletes who become professional and are in outstanding academic standings before graduating do alter the results. Another assumption made is that if the athlete quits early and is not in good academic standing, a school’s results are eaten into.

The measures for success greatly depends on the academic field by the academic progress rate, whereby it is then assumed to be the measure of academic capabilities for the current student athletes.


According to the NCAA report released in two thousand it can be noted that nineteen percent of the men’s basketball and forty one percent of the existing players within the same year graduated successfully. A total of approximately thirty one thousand three hundred and thirty five student athletes graduated in Alberta and almost twenty thousand and two graduated in Atlantic while places like Georgia had over forty five thousand and twenty three graduates in the three games. In contrast, the number of students reduced to eleven point three percent in Newfoundland and with a twelve point three percent for Quebec in the year two thousand and one.

This caused a reduction in the student enrollment and thus a corresponding increase in the migration to other provinces.

Data became readily available for the release for all states except Ontario by the year two thousand and four. It is observed that the graduation rates gained stability between the period in the years of two thousand and two thousand and six to all the provinces with the exclusion of Ontario. The highest increase in graduation rates was witnessed in the year two thousand and ninety eight in Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan with the worst drops taking place in Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. University women’s t baseball had was the highest graduation rate for two consecutive years that is in two thousand and two thousand and three at 100 percent recordings (Boen).

Terp’s men’s basketball had the highest reading during the same year. Not to be forgotten was the worst ever recorded performance by Maryland with a zero percent in the basket ball for men in the year two thousand. After three years from two thousand the NCAA computed the graduation rate for the men’s basketball team and found that it was running at eighteen percent and this was at the extreme bottom of the conference schools.

This rate could be translated with GSR ranking producing thirty percent still ranked last in two thousand and five. What remains remarkable is the record broken by the athletic teams of Alabama with the ranking of one hundred percent graduation rates in two thousand and four and the ninety percent the previous year (Benard.). Alabama recorded a graduation rate of seventy seven percent for the period nineteen ninety eight to two thousand and one, this clearly exceeded the acceptable customary levels for the finishing point of undergraduate studies, this is as per the results released by NCCA. Not left out are the figures released by UA in two thousand and one that revealed all student athletes for Alabama were ranked second in the SEC sports.

It is noted that there was an outstanding academic ratings for the student athletes during the same year which the coach termed as solid achievements.

It is also worth noting that the observed excellence in the rates of graduations was a fruit of the cooperation between the student athletes and the commitment of the coaches (Russel, 1993).

When we look at the Atlantic Coastal Conference schools we make a general conclusion that there was a remarkable performance as far as graduation rates are concerned.

Coupled with the high rates experienced in two thousand and three in the year two thousand and four almost half the schools in this category had sixty five percent graduations of student athletes. Though the numbers indicated earlier are estimates, more precise survey was released in the year two thousand and six that indicated that by this year roughly one thousand one hundred schools had sixty two percent graduations with student athletes in basketball, fifty four percent in baseball and sixty eight percent in basketball. These figures again indicate that women teams came behind those of men. However it is clear that Virginia enjoyed the top of the table for two years by a lead in all the three principal games, a record that seemed broken since few teams had ever done this before, only to slip to the second position the following year.

The stability must have been due to good management as well as cooperation of the players with the coaches thus adding a bow to each other’s string which could cause output what the results indicate. Women’s performance must have been outweighed by that of men due to gender disparity. Cases could be that discrimination such as raising the competition levels such that it cuts out the level of competence of most women hence minimized participation. Other factors that could have also led to low women’s participation could be allocation of facilities discriminatively. The allocation is accompanied by biasness in which women are not prioritized in the distribution and this is not morale-boosting (Bernard).

On the other hand, we also have cases where most of the schools in the Atlantic Coastal Conference failed to raise the number of graduates within the stipulated time frame. This must have been a situation where the management, coaches and even the players lacked commitment and dedication to sports. In addition to that, the honoring of the nine Atlantic Coastal Conferences schools by the American Football Association was a landmark. This was a good show since it created a spirit of competition among the remaining Atlantic Coastal Conferences schools.

As it can be seen, it is this move that prompted various prominent groups like the California to run for the top most ranked positions the following year. Another boosting factor or important factor must have been the change of ranking of the participants using the old federal method to the GSR where the former produced concise non-ambiguous results. This must have put each school clearly where it belonged thus promoting the spirit of completion. The do- it- all performance by Wake Forest and Florida showed an optimal result signifying devotion to the sporting activity.

As observed there was a hundred percent rate in the graduation of athlete students. In conclusion, it is very simple to see that there is still room for impairment in all these schools; in fact the statistics above are very resourceful in inferring.

Actually, there is optimism by the participants for better results so long as there is devotion both by the students and even the coaches; more graduate student athletes are achievable.


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Greenbelt.O.P. (2002.) Sharing in the New Sports Discovery.4th Ed.New York. Touchstone

Greensboro, N.C. The SEC Sports Coverage. Web.

J.P. Giglio. ACC Tops in Graduates. Web.

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Russel.K. Fullb (1993). Coverage of the SEC sports.London.3rd Ed. New York: Touchstone

Terrlob, H.G. Introspection into the ACC Success Story. 

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