Big sports bring down graduation rates ACADEMICS

March 28, 1991|By Gerald Eskenazi | Gerald Eskenazi,New York Times News Service

A recent survey has disclosed that while athletes at Division I colleges and universities graduate at a higher rate than non-athletes, fewer than 40 percent of football and basketball players receive their degrees in five years.

The survey, in which 262 of 295 colleges responded, was reported yesterday in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a weekly journal.

Its findings, based on five-year graduation rates for students from 1984 to 1989, include:

* More than 56 percent of Division I athletes graduate within five ++ years, compared to about 48 percent of all students.

* Basketball players had the poorest graduation rates, with fewer than 39 percent receiving a degree after five years.

* Football players at the top 106 schools, known as Division I-A, graduated at a 42 percent rate. That included a 32.5 percent rate in the Southwest Conference.

In the past, most universities have refused to divulge graduation rates of their athletes. But they did forward the results to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which would release overall figures nationally, but not cite schools or conferences.

But Douglas Lederman, who edits the Chronicle's section on athletics, wrote directly to university presidents at the Division I level, the highest NCAA level. Lederman said that most of them responded by sending in copies of the reports they had sent to the NCAA, which governs most college athletics.

Late next year, the NCAA is scheduled, for the first time, to release graduation information by school. It will include each school's rates on basketball, football, baseball, men's track and other men's sports combined, and women's basketball, track and all other women's sports combined.

By conference

The graduation percentage rates of major-college conferences as determined by a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Categories are all students, all athletes,

football players and men's basketball players:

CONFERENCE.. .. ..ALL.. .. ATH.. .FOOT.. ..BSK

ACC.. .. .. .. .. 65.6.. ..66.2.. 55.4.. ..32.0

Big Eight.. .. ...46.0.. ..42.3.. 39.4.. ..34.8

Big Ten.. .. .. ..59.1.. ..58.0.. 50.0.. ..43.9

Big West.. .. .. .38.3.. . 39.4.. 23.8.. ..18.9

MAC.. .. .. .. .. 46.6.. . 54.4.. 42.9.. . 40.0

Pacific-10.. .. ..50.1.. . 52.9.. 46.6.. ..40.6

SEC.. .. .. .. .. 46.0.. . 36.4.. 32.2.. . 14.0

SWC.. .. .. .. .. 49.3.. . 40.6.. 32.5.. . 23.5

WAC.. .. .. .. .. 34.0.. . 40.7.. 43.1.. . 17.6

Independents.. .. 51.4.. . 59.0.. 51.7.. . 33.3

Note: Only six of the nine WAC members and 20 of the 25 independents responded to survey.

Source: Chicago Tribune

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