College athletes continue to earn degrees at record rates

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Black athletes are earning college degrees at record rates, and it’s pushing the overall graduation rate higher and higher.

On Wednesday, the NCAA’s latest Graduation Success Rate report showed that 77 percent of black athletes received diplomas from 2014-17 and that 87 percent of all college athletes graduated. Both are all-time highs.

“As colleges and universities, we have a responsibility to prepare our students to excel both on and off the field of play,” said John J. DeGioia, the president of Georgetown University and chairman of the Division I Committee on Academics. “This year’s Graduation Success Rate is exceptional – the highest in history.”

It’s the breakdowns that really have administrators cheering.

While the overall rate is up one percentage point from last year, men’s basketball recorded a record high of 82 percent, up two percentage points from 2016 and women’s basketball matched its all-time high of 92 percent. Players in the Football Bowl Subdivision finished at 78 percent. All three increases were at least partly attributed to increases among black players in each sport.

The numbers jumped to 78 percent in men’s basketball, 73 percent in football and 90 percent in women’s basketball, and the overall rate among black athletes has improved by 21 percentage points since 2002.

The NCAA started calculating numbers with the 1995 graduating class. Based on the 13-percentage point jump among all college athletes, the NCAA said it believes more than 22,000 additional athletes now have a diploma.

“Student-athletes are reaching their academic goals and earning degrees at record rates,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “The dramatic improvement in the graduation rate for African-American student-athletes in all sports is a significant achievement, and our student-athletes and member schools should be proud of the work they are doing.”

The NCAA’s numbers differ from those calculated by the federal statistics because the government does not include transfer students who graduate from other schools.

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