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NCAA Releases Graduation Success Rate

Oct. 25, 2013

Cullowhee, N.C. - The Southern Conference was among the top performing Division I conferences in data released by the NCAA Graduation Success Rate scores announced Thursday (Oct. 24). Thirteen of 15 Southern Conference sports met or exceeded the Division I average. The scores released Thursday include data from the 2003-06 cohorts, which allowed student-athletes six years to graduate.

Western Carolina had three teams post a GSR score of 100, the highest possible -- women's basketball, women's golf and women's tennis. Combined, seven of WCU's 12 reporting teams scored percentages of 91-or-better including women's cross country/track & field (97), women's soccer (96), volleyball (92) and men's golf (91).

A total of 47 men's teams and 50 women's teams topped their respective Division I average, while more than 30 percent (43 of 141) of the SoCon's teams posted a perfect score, including 28 women's programs. This year's scores represent an increase over last year's data as 48 women's programs topped the Division I average in 2012 and 25 percent of the league's teams posted a perfect score a year ago.

Southern Conference men's basketball programs earned a GSR of 78, topping the national average of 70 by eight points. The eight point difference between the conference average and the Division I average is the largest of any sport in the league.

Eight of the SoCon's 11 schools had multiple squads posted perfect scores of 100. Additionally, all 11 league members had multiple programs meet or exceed the Division I average in their sport.

Across the board, Division I student-athletes who entered college in 2006 earned their degrees at a rate of 82 percent - the highest ever. Since the NCAA first began tracking the Graduation Success Rate with student-athletes who entered college in 1995, the rate has increased 8 percentage points.

Developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative, the GSR is used to assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR measures graduation rates at Division I institutions and includes students transferring into the institutions. The GSR also allows schools to subtract student-athletes who leave their institutions prior to graduation as long as they would have been academically eligible to compete had they remained.

Complete NCAA Graduation Success Rate data for individual schools, conferences, and states is available through

Southern Conference Sports Exceeding Division I National Average
Men: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country & Track, Football, Golf, Soccer and Tennis Women: Basketball, Cross Country & Track, Soccer, Softball and Tennis

The Graduation Success Rate was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately measure the success of Division I student-athletes.

• The GSR takes into account the many different academic paths followed by today's college students.
• Unlike the federal graduation rate, the GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees and is calculated for every sport.
• By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by approximately 37 percent.
• Under the GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are essentially passed to the receiving institution's GSR cohort.
• The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes, because it is the only rate to compare student-athletes to the general student body.