Athletics News

Irish Student-Athletes Again Rank #1 In 2012 NCAA Graduation Rate Survey

Oct. 25, 2012

For the seventh time in eight years, the University of Notre Dame ranks number one on a percentage basis in terms of number of Graduation Success Rate (GSR) 100 scores, among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

Nineteen of 22 athletics programs at Notre Dame compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, and none were below 91 percent, according to the eighth year of GSR 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 .863 number (19 of 22).

In addition, Notre Dame ranked second among 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
  InstitutionPercentage100 Scores/Sports Rated
1.Notre Dame.86319/22
2.Wake Forest.85712/14
3.Stanford.74020/27
4.Duke.72716/22
5.Boston College.68017/25
6.Northwestern.63112/19
7.Vanderbilt.5387/13
8.Rice.5006/12

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

Federal Graduation Rates
  InstitutionPercentage100 Scores/Sports Rated
1.Stanford.46312/26
2.Notre Dame.4099/22
3.Duke.2945/17
4.Northwestern.2635/19
5.Boston College.2354/17

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, hockey, soccer, and swimming/diving achieved 100 percent GSR scores. Football scored 97 percent, lacrosse scored 96, and tennis came in at 91.

Overall, that's one more than the number of perfect GSR scores (18) from 2011-and it equals figures from 2010, 2009 and 2008 (all three of those years also with 19 of 22 sports at 100) for the Irish programs. Notre Dame also 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, men's hockey, 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 cross country/track and field at 95, men's lacrosse at 93 and men's tennis at 91.

In football, among the FBS programs, Notre Dame in 2012 finished with the top GSR score at 97 (tied with Northwestern)--followed by Boston College and Miami (Fla.) at 94; Rice at 93; Duke at 92; Penn State and Rutgers at 91, and Stanford at 90.

Here are other 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 2012 GSR numbers are based on entering classes from 2002 to 2005. 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 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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