- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Navy had the top overall graduation success rate among local and major regional Division I schools, according to data released by the NCAA yesterday.

Navy had a 99 percent GSR, which takes into account scholarship athletes who entered school between fall 1995 and fall 1998. Navy’s figure ranked second nationally behind Radford.

Georgetown (97 percent) and George Washington (90 percent) also had overall rates of at least 90 percent. Virginia was at 86 percent, followed by American (85 percent), Virginia Tech (83 percent), George Mason (77 percent), Maryland (76 percent) and Howard (62 percent). The national average for Division I schools was 76 percent.

The NCAA, which announced individual team GSRs last month, waited to unveil school GSRs until the federal graduation rates for students entering school in the fall of 1998 were released yesterday.

Navy and Georgetown were among two dozen schools, led by Radford’s 100 percent, to post a GSR of 95 percent or more.

At the other end of the scale, 13 schools, most of them historically black colleges in the South or Southwest, had a GSR below 50 percent.

Savannah State had the lowest, at 22 percent.

The GSR rates tend to be higher than the federal rate because the NCAA credits schools when athletes transfer or turn pro while in good academic standing. The federal rate does not account for that, simply counting a transfer or an early departure against a school.

Neither the federal rate nor the GSR accounts for non-scholarship athletes.

According to the single-year federal rate data, 91 percent of Georgetown’s scholarship athletes entering in the fall of 1998 graduated in the six-year window, followed by George Washington (79 percent), Virginia (79 percent), Virginia Tech (74 percent), Maryland (70 percent), American (54 percent), Howard (50 percent) and George Mason (42 percent). Maryland’s rate was a school record.

Maryland’s football team graduated 79 percent of scholarship athletes who enrolled as freshmen in 1998-99, fourth among current ACC schools behind Boston College (100 percent), Miami (87 percent) and Wake Forest (86 percent). The Maryland men’s basketball team was one of six ACC schools — including Duke, Georgia Tech and N.C. State — to not graduate an incoming player from 1998 to ‘99.

The NCAA considers any rate above 50 percent, a standard adopted by the privately funded Knight Commission on college sports, to be good, president Myles Brand said.

“This is not Lake Wobegon, where every student athlete and every team can be above average,” Brand said. “The 50 percent rate, while not sacrosanct, is a good rate to measure whether we’re making progress.”

Radford was the only Division I school with a 100 percent GSR for 1995-98, the most recent reporting period.

Greig Denny, athletic director at Radford, called it “an important indicator of the direction and your commitment to the academic success of your student athletes. It’s not just with our coaches; there are a lot of people in that commitment. It includes our coaches, our administration and our faculty and staff at the university.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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