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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Sep01

By Kent Larsen

BYU Football Graduation Rates Among Lowest in NCAA

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA -- The NCAA released a study last week of student-athlete graduation rates that puts BYU on the bottom when measuring the difference between the graduation rate of football players at the school and the graduation rate of male students at BYU. But while the rates are affected by the prevalence of LDS missionaries at BYU, missionaries still don't explain why BYU's rate is so low. And the rates could put BYU out of post-season and championship competition under the Knight Commission's recommendations released earlier this year.

The study shows that overall graduation rates held steady over the past three years for student-athletes at NCAA Division I schools, but shows that the disparity between graduation rates for the student body and the rates for athletes remains very large. In BYU's case, 71% of all students who entered the school in 1994-95 graduated within six years. But among BYU athletes that rate drops to 55%. For football players the rate is just 30%. The difference between the overall rate (71%) and the football rate (30%) is the largest difference among Division I schools, according to USA Today's analysis of the study.

BYU, as well as other Utah-based schools, points to LDS missionaries as a factor in the lower BYU rates, compared to other Division I schools. The study gives students six years to complete their education before the graduation rate is calculated. However, LDS missionaries are probably a lower proportion of BYU football players than among the male student body at BYU. The rates also ignore transfers and early departures to professional leagues.

The latest rates were released just three months after the Knight Commission's study of graduation rates. That commission decried the low rates in football and basketball, suggesting that "big-time athletics departments seem to operate with little interest in scholastic matters beyond the narrow issue of individual eligibility." The commission recommended that student athletes be held to the same admissions criteria as other students, shortening the length of playing seasons and barring schools from post-season and championship play if they don't graduate at least 50% of their athletes.


Graduation rates at top-tier football programs poor
USA Today 19Sep01 S3
By Steve Wieberg: USA Today
Graduation rates at top-tier football programs poor

NCAA Student-Athlete Graduation Rates Remain Steady for Third Consecutive Year
NCAA News Release 10Sep01 S3

BYU Graduation Rates
NCAA website 10Sep01 S3


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