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BU athletes top America East in Graduation Success Rate

Terriers exceed national average by 16 percent

Mike Lynch, assistant vice president and athletics director: BU's GSR results "accurately reflect the quality of our program."

One of the most impressive statistics earned by BU varsity athletes concerns their performance off the field: the University has the highest graduation success rate (GSR) of the America East conference’s nine colleges. The latest report of the NCAA Graduation Success Rate of all 318 Division I schools gives BU a score of 92, well ahead of the national average of 76. The report, which was issued on January 19, also gives BU a perfect 100 in 14 of its varsity sports in the initial sport-by-sport data released last month.

“I am proud that Boston University’s GSR results accurately reflect the quality of our program and the academic accomplishments of our student-athletes,” says Mike Lynch, assistant vice president and athletics director.

The NCAA believes that its GSR is a more accurate assessment than the federal government’s current graduation rate calculation because it counts all athletes who earn a degree within six years of enrollment, leave school to play professionally, or while still in good academic standing transfer to another college and obtain a degree. According to the federal study, which doesn’t include transfer data, the national graduation rate average of student-athletes is 62.

The GSR covered athletes who enrolled from 1995 to 1998 and included 21 of BU’s varsity sports. BU’s student-athlete graduation rate was 92 percent for that period. The men’s and women’s basketball teams were among the 14 Terrier sports with a GSR of 100 percent. The other teams were women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s swimming and diving, wrestling, women’s rowing, women’s golf, and women’s tennis.

The NCAA has adopted new academic reform standards that impose penalties — including the possible loss of athletic scholarships for a year — for teams with a graduation rate of under 50 percent.

The national average GSR for men’s basketball is 58, the lowest of all sports and 6 points lower than football. Outcry over low graduation rates and high-profile scandals in these two sports in the past 30 years prompted the NCAA to crack down on college athletes’ underperformance in the classroom.

“We are particularly proud of the perfect graduation rates in our basketball programs,” says Lynch. “Basketball and its graduation rates have been susceptible to criticism, but our numbers speak volumes to the persistence of our coaches and their attempts to make their student-athletes’ academic success a top priority.”

Among local colleges, Boston College posted a 93 overall, Northeastern an 88, and UMass received a score of 84.

Lynch points out that BU’s department of athletics provides a comprehensive program, including tutoring and career development services, to help student-athletes maintain their academic eligibility. “Over the past several years, Boston University has taken great strides to continue to improve our student-athlete academic support resources,” he says. “These improvements, ranging from individualized assistance to a fully equipped support center, have given the student-athletes at BU a wide range of opportunities to further the pursuit of their goals, both academically and athletically.”

To see the Graduation Success Rates of all Division I schools, click here.