Reviewing ACC Basketball Graduation Rates

Posted by KCarpenter on October 26th, 2011

To be honest, on average, the graduation rates for men’s college basketball players have  increased everywhere. To be completely honest, the graduation rates for student-athletes as a whole have improved. Still, let’s take a minute and appreciate how this trend holds up in the Atlantic Coast Conference: All in all, basketball players are graduating at better rates that they once did in the ACC, and at a rate that’s better than the national average for men’s college basketball players. So, that’s something.

But is it the whole story? No, but since the NCAA loves nothing if not thorough documentation, we can get at least get a clearer view of the story. The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) is a modified version of a rolling measure called the Federal Graduation Rate (FGR). The Federal Graduation Rate for a given year is the percentage of an incoming freshmen class that graduates at that institution within six years of entry, averaged with the three classes that preceded it. The FGR does not count any player who transferred to another university and graduated or otherwise left the university. The NCAA’s measure, GSR, tries to account for the fact that lots of athletes transfer to other universities, and, at least in a few sports, enter the professional leagues. So, in short, the GSR is in some ways, an inflated version of the Federal Graduation Rate, where an athlete can get counted as “graduated” as long as they leave the university in good academic standing. It almost makes sense, but since it’s the NCAA’s preferred metric, we’ll roll with it.  (ed. note: see our previous article this morning for Matt’s take on the value of graduation rates to the NCAA)

Now, because of the six year window that both rates use to count graduation, the numbers that were released this year deal with the players who entered a given university between 2001-02 and 2004-05.  So, while these numbers can give a good indicator in the general direction a program is heading, the data isn’t particularly timely.  Still, looking at the past and looking at how the data is trending can give a useful glimpse into the present.

Graduation Success Rate Percentages

The Graduation Success Rates for Basketball Players at ACC Schools

A couple of things jump out immediately from the data: Skip Prosser‘s amazing 100% graduation rate at Wake Forest for every year measured is an impressive feat, and a bit sad considering the current troubles of the Wake Forest basketball team under Jeff Bzdelik. On the other end of the spectrum, Maryland‘s graduation rates are shockingly low, even if you already knew that lots of Gary Williams’ Terrapins didn’t graduate. While Georgia Tech has also never managed to post a graduation rate above 50%, they don’t hold a candle to the Terrapins in that regard. Still, in the last three years measured, Maryland’s GSR rose steadily, and hopefully Mark Turgeon will help his program get over that academic hump.

Wake Forest, as mentioned previously, is the class of the nation in terms of GSR. For the 2004 cohort, Duke also posted a 100% GSR, an impressive feat and the culmination of an improvement in graduation rates that started as low as 50% for the 1998 cohort.  Boston College and North Carolina are tied at 89% for the 2004 cohort, with both schools posting consistently high graduation rates. All in all, the ACC’s basketball players seem to be doing well academically, as long as they aren’t at Maryland or Georgia Tech.

KCarpenter (269 Posts)


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