June 27, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame will receive the 2001 American Football Coaches Association's Academic Achievement Award, which is presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Memphis.
Notre Dame recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its football squad when all members of their freshman classes of 1995-96 earned a degree. Vanderbilt also recorded a 100 percent rate to share the 2001 award with Notre Dame.
"We are excited to receive this prestigious award," Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie said. "It shows just how serious we are about the term student-athlete here. We also achieved the highest football team grade-point average on record during the fall of 2000. All of this is a tribute to the great job our academic services staff does here at Notre Dame."
Notre Dame won the award for the sixth time (previously in 1982, 1983, 1984-tie, 1988, 1991). Notre Dame's six awards are second-most behind the 10 won by Duke University.
Notre Dame has earned honorable mention status 14 times.
Twenty-eight other institutions will be recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of their football players, including seven institutions that had a graduation rate of 90 percent or better. The institutions receiving honorable mention are as follows: Akron, Ball State, Baylor, Buffalo, Duke, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, LSU, Marshall, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon, Penn State, Rice, South Carolina, SMU, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Tulane, Tulsa, Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington State, Western Michigan, Wyoming.
The overall graduation rate of the 95 institutions participating in the survey was 59 percent, as compared to 57 percent the previous year. Forty-seven of the members that responded were above the average and 48 were below the average. The median graduation rate was 59 percent, compared to 58 percent the last three years. The study involves the freshman class from the academic year of 1995-96, including those who entered at that time but who did not receive financial aid until after their initial year or who transferred from another institution and subsequently received a grant-in-aid.
The 2001 AFCA Academic Achievement Award will be presented to Notre Dame and Vanderbilt at the AFCA Kickoff Luncheon during the Association's 2002 convention in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition to the 2001 AFCA Academic Achievement Award, the 2000 Notre Dame football squad had its most successful semester in the classroom in the history of the program, based on final grades from the 2000 fall semester.
The Irish team finished with its highest combined grade-point average on record, with a 2.67, equal to a B-minus.
Eleven players made the Dean's List (3.4 GPA or higher) including three starters -- tailback Tony Fisher (3.41 in economics) from Euclid, Ohio, fullback Tom Lopienski (3.583 in film, television and theater) from Hudson, Ohio, and flanker Arnaz Battle (3.5 in sociology) from Shreveport, La.
Thirty-seven football players had a B average or higher, and more than 50 percent of those were starters. Two-thirds of the football team members increased their cumulative grade-point averages from what they earned the previous semester.
All-Time Academic Achievement Award Recipients*
1982: Notre Dame
1983: Notre Dame
1984: Duke & Notre Dame
1988: Notre Dame
1991: Notre Dame
1992: Boston College & TCU
1995: Boston College, Duke & Wake Forest
1996: Boston College, Duke & Vanderbilt
2001: Notre Dame & Vanderbilt
* Presented by the College Football Association from 1981-97.