Athletics News

Irish Student-Athletes Again Rank Number One In 2011 NCAA Graduation Success Rates

Oct. 25, 2011

Eighteen of 22 athletics programs at the University of Notre Dame compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, and none were below 93 percent, according to the seventh year of Graduation Success Rate measurements developed by the NCAA and released today.

None of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) programs in the country had a higher percentage of 100 GSR scores than did Notre Dame with its .818 number (18 of 22). This marked the sixth time in the seven years of the survey that Notre Dame has ranked number one in percentage of teams with 100 scores.

In addition, Notre Dame also led all FBS institutions with nine perfect scores among 22 sports (.409) in the federal graduation rate analysis.

Here are the top institutions in the GSR category (these are the only FBS institutions with 50 or more percent of their sports registering 100 marks):

Graduation Success Rate

Institution Percentage 100 Scores/Sports Rated
1. Notre Dame .818 18/22
2. Wake Forest .785 11/14
3. Boston College .760 19/25
4. Stanford .653 17/26
5. Duke .590 13/22
6. Northwestern .578 11/19
7. (tie) Rice .500 6/12
Vanderbilt .500 6/12

Here are the top institutions in the federal category (these are the only FBS institutions with four or more 100 scores):

Federal Graduation Rates

Institution Percentage 100 Scores/Sports Rated
1. Notre Dame .409 9/22
2. Stanford .384 10/26
3. (tie) Duke .294 5/17
Boston College .294 5/17
5. (tie) Wake Forest .285 4/14
Iowa State .285 4/14
7. Bowling Green .250 4/16
8. Northwestern .210 4/19
9. Michigan .173 4/23
10. Rutgers .166 4/24
11. Penn State .160 4/25

In football, Notre Dame achieved a 97 GSR rating for the highest figure among FBS schools. Here are the FBS institutions with scores of 80 or higher in that category:

Score Institution
97 Notre Dame
94 Northwestern
93 Boston College, Duke, Rice
91 U.S. Naval Academy
89 Rutgers
88 Miami (Fla.), U.S. Military Academy
87 Penn State, Stanford
86 Miami (Ohio), Vanderbilt
84 U.S. Air Force Academy
83 Iowa
81 Wake Forest

In men's basketball, Notre Dame achieved a perfect 100 GSR rating, with only BYU, Duke, Illinois, Marshall, Utah State, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky also reaching the top slot. Here are the FBS institutions with scores of 80 or higher in that category:

Score Institution
100 BYU, Duke, Illinois, Marshall, Notre Dame, Utah State, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky
94 TCU
93 SMU, Vanderbilt
92 Rice
91 Kansas, U.S. Military Academy
90 Penn State
89 Boston College, North Carolina, Toledo, U.S. Air Force Academy
86 Virginia Tech
85 Oregon
83 Tulane, West Virginia
82 Miami (Fla.), Miami (Ohio), Michigan State
80 Bowling Green, North Carolina State, Northwestern, Stanford

In women's basketball, Notre Dame also achieved a 100 GSR rating, as one of 33 Division I-A football-playing institutions with a perfect score. Here are the FBS institutions with scores of 90 or higher in that category:

Score Institution
100 Ball State, Boston College, Bowling Green, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa State, Iowa, Kansas State, Kentucky, Kent State, LSU, Marshall, Memphis, Miami (Ohio), Mississippi State, Nebraska, New Mexico, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UNLV, U.S. Military Academy, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest
94 Central Florida, Idaho, Miami (Fla.)
93 Arizona State, Buffalo, Louisville, Missouri, Nevada, Northwestern, Oregon, Rice, Stanford, U.S. Naval Academy, Washington, Western Michigan, Wyoming
92 Baylor, California, Colorado State, Tulane, UCLA, Utah
91 Colorado, Rutgers, SMU, Utah State, Virginia Tech
90 Connecticut

In hockey, Notre Dame achieved a 95 GSR rating, to rank second (behind the U.S. Air Force Academy at 97) among Division I-A football-playing institutions. Here are the FBS institutions with scores of 65 or higher in that category:

Score Institution
97 U.S. Air Force Academy
95 Notre Dame
94 Bowling Green
92 Boston College
84 U.S. Military Academy
82 Connecticut
77 Western Michigan
75 Michigan
73 Miami (Ohio)
68 Michigan State, Minnesota

The national GSR for 2011 for the FBS (Division I-A) is 80 percent. The four-year GSR data is based upon the entering classes from 2001 to 2004. In addition to men's and women's basketball, other Notre Dame programs recording 100 GSR scores were baseball, men's cross country/track, women's cross country/track, men's fencing, women's fencing, men's golf, women's golf, women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men's soccer, women's soccer, women's softball, men's swimming, women's swimming, women's tennis and women's volleyball.

NCAA figures released today showed that all 11 Irish women's programs posted a GSR of 100 percent--basketball, cross country/track, fencing, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis and volleyball. Among Notre Dame's men's sports, baseball, basketball, cross country/track, fencing, golf, soccer, and swimming/diving achieved 100 percent GSR scores. Football scored 97 percent, ice hockey and lacrosse scored 95, and tennis came in at 93.

Overall, that's one less than the number of perfect GSR scores in 2010, 2009 and 2008 (all three years with 19 of 22 sports at 100) for the Irish programs. Notre Dame recorded 18 100 percent GSR scores (of 22) in 2007.

In the federal calculations, the nine Notre Dame programs with 100 scores were men's cross country/track, men's fencing, men's golf, women's cross country/track, women's rowing, women's golf, women's lacrosse, women's tennis and women's volleyball. Other top Notre Dame programs in the federal analysis included women's swimming at 96, men's swimming at 95, women's softball at 93, men's ice hockey at 91 and men's lacrosse at 90.

Here are previous finishes for Notre Dame in terms of the GSR numbers:

  • In 2005, among the 119 NCAA Division I-A football-playing institutions, Notre Dame had the highest percentage of its sports with 100 percent scores, with a .800 figure (16 of 20).
  • The 2006 data put Notre Dame's percentage at .773 (17 of 22), to rank second behind the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • The 2007 data put Notre Dame's percentage at .818 (18 of 22), which again ranked number one.

The GSR data show the percentage of student-athletes earning a degree within six years. The NCAA developed the GSR to account for transfer student-athletes, midyear enrollees and others not tracked by the federal graduation rate. The GSR captures about 37 percent more students than the federal rate, resulting in a more accurate assessment of the academic success of student-athletes. However, the federal rate provides the only method by which student-athletes can be compared with the general student body. College and university presidents had asked the NCAA to develop a new methodology that takes into account the mobility among students in today's higher education environment. Research indicates that approximately 60 percent of all new bachelor's degree recipients are attending more than one undergraduate institution during their collegiate careers.

The 2011 national GSR (four-class average) for Division I is a record-high 80 percent. The 2011 GSR numbers are based on entering classes from 2001 to 2004. The 2010 GSR numbers are based on entering classes from 2000 to 2003. The 2009 GSR numbers are based on entering classes from 1999 to 2002. The 2008 GSR numbers are based on entering classes from 1998 to 2001, the '07 data on classes from 1997 to 2000, the '06 data on classes from 1996 to 1999 - and the '05 first-year GSR data was based upon the classes entering from 1995 to 1998.

The GSR should not be confused with another fairly recent NCAA initiative, the Academic Progress Rate, which uses a series of formulas related to student-athlete retention and eligibility to measure the academic performance of all participants who receive a grant-in-aid on every team at every NCAA Division I college and university. In addition to the GSR, the NCAA continues to compile data and release results based upon the federally mandated methodology.

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