NCAA releases latest graduation rates

Jake Grovum

Last week, the NCAA released the latest graduation rates for all of its member institutions.

For the past four years, student-athletes at the University have been on pace with their nationwide counterparts.

The graduation rate for student-athletes remains higher than the University’s general student body, but that gap is now at a four-year low.

Despite considerable drops in women’s basketball and football graduation rates, the baseball program saw a 19-point increase.

“We need to improve our graduation rates, and we’re committed to doing so,” athletics director Joel Maturi said. “There needs to be an understanding that these things are going to take some time, but we’re committed to fixing them, and I’m confident we will.”

While the release of graduation rates can be an ominous occasion for athletics programs, Maturi said the nature of the rates is important to remember.

“The real concern and the flaw in graduation rates is it implies to many people (that) there’s a lack of academic success,” he said. “In essence, that’s not necessarily the case.”

The federal graduation rate formula treats a student-athlete who drops out or is academically unable to graduate the same as one who transfers or leaves under other circumstances.

The new data takes into account scholarship student-athletes who entered the University during the 2000-2001 academic year. The rate is determined by the number of those student-athletes who graduated within six years.

Graduation rate information is withheld in any category with one or two student-athletes to protect their identities, according to NCAA rules.