KU Graduation Success Rate Climbs; Men's Basketball Among Six Perfect Teams

Oct. 25, 2012

Kansas Athletics posted its highest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) ever, bolstered by six teams, including men’s basketball, that achieved perfect scores. The numbers released by the NCAA Thursday afternoon continue an upward trend for Jayhawk student-athletes, who set a new program record a year ago.

Kansas saw its GSR grow to 85 percent, up from 79 percent last year and the highest ever for the department since the statistic was created in 2003. Kansas men’s basketball and men’s golf joined four women’s programs – Cross Country/Track, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball – with perfect GSRs, meaning for a four-year average all student-athletes either graduated or left the program in good academic standing.

“We expect quality results like this from our student-athletes,” Kansas Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger said. “We insist on responsibility in their personal lives and competitive excellence on the field of play. That is the best way to compete for conference and national championships, while at the same time preparing for a competitive world after college.”

There is no NCAA penalty for a poor GSR score and conversely no reward. The number, however, does provide a more accurate snapshot of student-athlete academic performance than the federal graduation rate. The 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. This year’s numbers reflect a four-year average for students who entered college from 2002-05.

Even using the federal graduation rate, Kansas student-athletes are succeeding in the classroom. Jayhawks graduate at a rate higher than the national average. The KU student-athletes’ 67 percent federal rate is comparable to, and even higher than, the general KU student population. Due to the sheer volume of student entering and leaving, GSRs are not calculated for the general student population.

With the perfect score, Kansas men’s basketball posted its highest four-year GSR ever and is significantly higher than the sport’s national rate of 68 percent. As a department, the Jayhawks’ cumulative four-year average was five points higher than the national average of 80 percent.

The graduation-success-rate data comes on the heels of other positive academic news at Kansas Athletics. In June the NCAA recognized two KU teams – men’s basketball and women’s cross country – for achieving four-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores that are among the nation’s top 10 percent in their respective sports. Both sports achieved a four-year APR score of 1,000, the highest score attainable. The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation, providing a measure of each team’s academic performance.

It was the sixth consecutive year that the men’s basketball program has achieved a perfect APR. Women’s cross country has had a perfect score in each of the eight years the NCAA has published this data. Women’s golf and tennis joined men’s basketball and women’s cross country with perfect APR scores of 1,000 for the 2010-11 academic year. The four-year APR scores of all of KU’s 18 sports programs registered well above the requisite measure of 925 established by the NCAA for good standing.

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