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Latest GSR Report Released by NCAA

LMU recorded high marks on the latest NCAA GSR Report.
LMU recorded high marks on the latest NCAA GSR Report.

Oct. 25, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -

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LMU student-athletes received high marks once again as the 2011 Graduation Success Rate (GSR) Report was released Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). LMU continues to post GSR marks higher than the national average, as LMU sits at 88% compared to the 82% nationally for the student-athletes who began college in 2004, three points higher than last year and eight points higher than when GSR collection began a decade ago.

Men's and women's track led LMU's GSR numbers with perfect 100% marks.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said the GSR for the last four graduating classes (2001-2004) has hit 80 percent as well, a new high for Division I athletics and one point higher than the last four-year average.

"Academic reform is working. Students are better prepared when they enter college, and they are staying on track to earn their degrees," Emmert said. "Some doubted our efforts, but the resolve of our presidents is strong, and we are reaping the fruit of several years of hard work."

Even when measuring student-athlete success using the less-accurate federal graduation rate, Division I student-athletes who began college in 2004 graduated at a 65 percent rate, also the highest ever and two points higher than the general student body. LMU has also excelled in this category, graduating at a 79 percent rate.

The federal rate for student-athletes has climbed five points in the past 10 years and 13 points since 1984, when it was first calculated. Although not as precise as the NCAA's rate, it is the only measure to compare student-athlete graduation with the general student body.

The NCAA's Graduation Success Rate includes transfer students and student-athletes who leave in good academic standing, unlike the federal rate, which does not count transfers. The GSR and federal rate calculations measure graduation over six years from initial college enrollment.

Men's basketball continues to show improvement, Emmert said. The single-year GSR for men's basketball (68 percent) is up two points from last year and up 12 points throughout the 10-year period of GSR. Although the federal rate declined by two points in men's basketball, Emmert said that likely is due to the many transfers in the sport.

African-American student-athletes overall and in men's basketball have increased their GSRs as well, Emmert said. The single-year GSR for African-American student-athletes is up two points up from last year and up one point for African-American men's basketball players.

Emmert said that increased academic standards have resulted in tangible success for minority student-athletes. There are approximately 400 more African-American student-athletes in the latest cohort, and about 400 more African-American student-athlete graduates compared to last year.

"Success for student-athletes is ultimately measured by how well they do in the classroom," said Emmert. "There is room for greater progress, and we continue to work hard to that end, but today we celebrate this important milestone."

Walter Harrison, chair of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance and president of the University of Hartford, stressed that the latest classroom success is a result of the groundbreaking academic reform movement of the past decade.

Moving forward, academic success will be defined by sustained and increased expectations for all student-athletes, he emphasized.

He said that proposed increased standards for initial eligibility, potential changes in transfer regulations for two-year college students and overall greater standards for students and teams will not only signal but also strengthen the expectation that student-athletes are students first.

"I am excited about the progress so far, and I look forward to continuing to watching more and more student-athletes earn their college degrees each year," Harrison said.

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