Florida equals its all-time high of 92 graduation success rate, NCAA announces

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Sam Riffice of the University of Florida University after they defeated South Carolina to win the menÕs singles finals at the 2021 NCAA D1 Tennis Championships on Friday, May 28, 2021 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. (Manuela Davies/USTA)

INDIANAPOLIS  — New graduation numbers show college athletes continue to graduate at higher rates than overall students.

On Thursday, the NCAA released its annual Graduation Success Rate report that shows college athletes who entered school from 2011-12 through 2014-15 graduated at a rate of 89%, 21 points higher than the federal graduation rate — and well above the 80% goal set by late NCAA President Myles Brand when he first introduced the report in 2002.

The single-year calculation of 90% also matched last year's record high.

NCAA numbers include athletes who remain academically eligible and graduate after transferring. The federal numbers do not count students who graduate from a school other than the one where they first enrolled.

The two-decade comparisons were up across the board.

The overall rate increased by 16 percentage points over the past 20 years while the percentage of Black athletes earning diplomas went from 56% to 80%; 94% of Hispanic athletes also are now graduating, a 13-point increase since 2002.

“Today’s announcement proves college athletes take seriously their status as students," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. "We celebrate them and their achievements and will continue to support them as the NCAA modernizes its rules to benefit them.”

Critics contend the NCAA numbers do not accurately reflect actual graduation results.

Individual sports have seen similar jumps when compared to 2002.

The percentage of Division I men's basketball players increased by 28 points to 84% with wrestlers going up 24 points to 86% and baseball players improving 23 points to 88%. Football Bowl Subdivision players followed the trend, seeing their numbers increase 18 points to 81%.

While this year's rate among FBS players held steady at 81%, the percentage of Division I women’s basketball players earning diplomas increased by 2 percentage points to 94%.

Female athletes also continue to outpace their male counterparts, 94% to 85%, but college administrators were impressed by the overall results.

“Division I student-athletes are succeeding in the classroom, and we celebrate their achievements along with them," said Dianne Harrison, the chair of the NCAA's committee on academics. "We want every student to achieve their full potential academically and earn their degree.”

Florida Gators' GRS

Florida student-athletes are achieving their goal of becoming UF graduates.

The Graduation Success Rates published Thursday shows UF equaled its all-time high with 92 percent of Gators student-athletes completing their degrees in the latest cycle. The Gators' latest number is above NCAA Division I's overall GSR of 90 percent.

The GSR of 12 Gator teams are above or equal the national average for their sport – men's & women's basketball, football, men's & women's golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, women's tennis, men's track & field/cross country and volleyball. Florida equaled its all-time high with seven teams posting a perfect 100 GSR: men's basketball, men's & women's golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, women's tennis and volleyball.

Earlier this fall, UF ascended to No. 5 in the public institutions ranking on US News and World Reports annual list. The combined grade point average for all Gator student-athletes for the 2020-21 academic year was 3.16 and 1205 student-athletes earned bachelor or master degrees in the last academic year.

The most recent Graduation Success Rates are based on the four entering freshmen classes in Division I from 2011-12 to 2014-15.

 Success Rate  Overall DI National Average

Baseball                             75                                             86

Men's Basketball              100                                             84

Women's Basketball           92                                             92

Men's Cross Country & Track    89                                      84

Women's Cross Country & Track    86                                 91

Football                                           93                                  80

Men's Golf                                    100                                    91

Women's Golf                              100                                    96

Gymnastics                                 100                                     97

Lacrosse                                    100                                     97

Soccer                                        96                                       95

Softball                                       95                                       93

Men's Swimming                       83                                        91

Women's Swimming                 92                                         96

Men's Tennis                           88                                            93

Women's Tennis                      100                                         96

Volleyball                                100                                          94

Overall Athletics Program     92% - Florida's Overall GSR     90% - Overall Division I GSR

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