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Huskie athletes beat national average in latest report on NCAA graduation success rates

October 28, 2010

NCAA logoFor the third straight year, Northern Illinois Athletics hit the mark – the 80 percent mark, that is – as Huskie Athletics continues to graduate its student-athletes at a rate which ranks above the national average, according to data released Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The Huskies’ overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for 2010 came in at 80 percent, including a 71 percent mark for male student-athletes who entered school as freshmen between 2000 and 2003 and a 93 percent mark for female NIU student-athletes in the same time frame.

The Huskies continue to rank above the 79 percent national GSR average overall while Northern Illinois’ 93 percent mark by members of its women’s sports teams is six points ahead of the 87 percent mark national average for female student-athletes.

For the past nine years, the NCAA has been using the Graduation Success Rate to measure the academic success of Division I student-athletes.

Unlike the federal graduation rates, the GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students and mid-year enrollees, and is calculated independently for every sport. Because approximately 36 percent more student-athletes are included in the GSR reports, it is regarded as a more accurate measure of ultimate long-term success. The 2010 figures are based on freshmen who began their Division I careers from 2000-2001 through 2003-04.

Jeff Compher

Jeff Compher

“Graduation Success is an important indicator of academic success, and of how we are doing as an athletic department and as a university in terms of graduating student-athletes,” said Jeff Compher, NIU associate vice president and director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Unlike the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which provides a real-time look at our teams in terms of retention, eligibility and graduation, the GSR looks at the freshmen classes that entered school between 2000 and 2003,” Compher added. “Every day, our coaches, athletics staff, Student-Athlete Academic Support Staff and advisors and counselors across the university are working to ensure that the GSR numbers for today’s classes of Huskie student-athletes will remain at or above these levels, and we are committed to remaining above the national average in the future.”

Northern Illinois once again had 13 of its 15 programs post a GSR that ranked at or above the national average for their respective sports, while five Huskie programs checked in with a perfect 100 percent mark. (Note: The NCAA combines women’s indoor and outdoor track and cross country into one sport for purposes of this survey.)

Men’s tennis, women’s basketball, women’s golf, women’s gymnastics and women’s tennis all graduated 100 percent of the freshmen student-athletes who entered school between 2000-03, while three other Huskie teams posted a GSR above 90 percent (women’s cross country/track & field – 91; softball – 95; women’s soccer – 95). Northern Illinois men’s basketball boasted a GSR of 79 percent, 13 points ahead of the national average for that sport. No NIU team had a GSR below 67 percent.

“Academic success like this by student-athletes across the board is not something that happens overnight or by accident,” Compher said. “It takes a total and constant commitment, beginning at the top with President (John) Peters and extending to every student-athlete we bring to Northern Illinois. We’re proud of this year’s Graduation Success Rate numbers, but we are not satisfied.”

The complete Graduation Success Rate reports for all Division I schools, as well as the Federal Graduation Rate data, which compares student-athletes to the general student body, are available online.