Graduation rates go up at Maryland

Athletes' overall mark tops national average

October 31, 2007|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,Sun Reporter

College Park -- University of Maryland scholarship athletes recorded a 78 percent graduation success rate - the athletic department's highest in the past three years and above the national average - according to data released by the NCAA yesterday for athletes who entered school between 1997 and 2000 and graduated within the NCAA's six-year window.

Though the Terps' GSR increased two percentage points from the previous two years, there were only two schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference - North Carolina State and Georgia Tech - with lower scores.

The federal graduation rates also were released yesterday for the freshman athletes who entered college in 2000, and Maryland's graduation rate of 69 percent also was above the national average.

The NCAA released team-by-team graduation success rates Oct. 3, but the information released yesterday captures athletic departments as a whole and breaks down the results by race and gender.

Unlike the GSR, which is the more popular formula devised by the NCAA, the federal rate does not reward schools for scholarship students who transfer into the program and graduate, but it does penalize schools for those who transfer out.

"The one we really pay attention to, more importantly for us, is the GSR," said Anton Goff, Maryland's associate athletic director/academic support and career development. "That one we feel like is a better, accurate measure of what's going on. ... We feel you shouldn't get penalized for a young man or a young lady who transfers out for whatever reason."

The national GSR was 77 percent, and the federal rate nationwide was 63 percent. Goff said Maryland's target for the GSR is to be more than 80 percent and more than 70 percent for the federal rate. The athletic department has achieved the latter goal for the past two years and has maintained a 76 percent GSR during that time.

Maryland's 78 percent GSR measures 396 athletes who entered school between 1997 and 2000. The zero percent graduation success rate for men's basketball, which was released earlier this month, doesn't have a major impact on the department's overall percentage because it involved only 10 athletes.

The one-year federal graduation rate revealed the Maryland men's basketball program wasn't the only one in the ACC with a zero percent. Six other league schools recorded a federal graduation rate of zero percent for men's basketball: Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia and Wake Forest.

Just two athletes accounted for Maryland's zero percent federal graduation rate for the one-year class of 2000. Matt Slaninka transferred to Shepherd College in West Virginia, and Chris Wilcox turned pro after his sophomore season.

"Every member of this department takes very seriously our commitment to assisting our student-athletes achieve their educational goals," athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement yesterday. "We have made it a departmental priority to continue to improve in this area. Our unwavering goal is to have graduation rates for student-athletes at 70 percent or higher on a consistent basis."

The Naval Academy had one of the highest graduation success rates in the country, with 98 percent of its student-athletes earning a degree. Loyola (96), Mount St. Mary's (88), Towson (87), UMBC (85) and UMES (79) also came in above the national average. Morgan State (65) and Coppin State (61) fell short, but both schools graduated athletes at a higher percentage than the overall student body.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Kevin Van Valkenburg contributed to this article.

GRADUATION SUCCESS RATES

Graduation success rates for the University of Maryland and other Atlantic Coast Conference schools, and for the state's other Division I schools (for athletes who entered school between 1997 and 2000 and graduated within six years):

ACC schools

School Rate ........................... School Rate

Duke 97% ............................ North Carolina 83%

Boston College 96% ........... Miami 83%

Wake Forest 93% ............. Maryland 78%

Virginia 85% ..................... Florida State 78%

Clemson 84% ................ N.C. State 70%

Virginia Tech 83% ............. Georgia Tech 69%

State schools

School Rate .................... School Rate

Navy 98% ........................... UMBC 85%

Loyola 96% ....................... UMES 79%

Mt. St. Mary's 88% ........... Morgan State 65%

Towson 87% .................... Coppin State 61%

Note: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's, UMBC, UMES and Coppin State do not field Division I football teams, which make up the largest number of scholarship athletes.

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