Lacrosse #1 in NCAA's New Graduation Success Rate

Although the GSR is higher for many or even most teams compared to the federal rate, Petr noted that team GSRs will be lower if teams rely heavily on transfers and do not pay attention to their academic progress.

"The way incoming transfers affect a team's GSR is an important distinction," Petr said. "The new metric holds institutions accountable for the academic success of all student-athletes enrolled at a given time. It is a mistake to assume that the GSR for every team will increase over the federal rate."

Brand said the GSR responds to a presidential need. "The GSR complements the federal rate and responds to a request from college presidents to more accurately depict transfer trends in higher education," he said. "The NCAA is not going to stop releasing rates based on the federal methodology; however, we are continuing our appeals to the Department of Education to adopt what we believe is a better approach."

Brand said the federal methodology maintains some value because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athlete success with student body success.

"While the GSR is a more accurate rate for student-athletes, there is no comparable measure to date for the student body that tracks transfers the way the GSR does," he said.

Both the federal rate and the GSR track the four most recent cohort, the entering classes of 1995-96 to 1998-99. Preliminary data from the federal methodology show student-athletes graduating at a rate of 62 percent.

Federal rates for football and men's basketball student-athletes in the four-class cohort remain steady about 54 percent and 44 percent, respectively. The latter continues to be the lowest for any sport in the federal rate. The GSRs for both sports indicate that more student-athletes are actually graduating than reflected by the federal rate 64 percent in Division I football (65 percent in Division I-A, 63 percent in Division I-AA) and 58 percent in men's basketball. Those two sports, however, still show the lowest rates by sport in the GSR calculation. Baseball and wrestling are next at 65 and 66 percent, respectively.

The top three sports in the Division I GSR are women's lacrosse (94 percent), and women's gymnastics, field hockey and women's fencing (93 percent). Women's swimming and diving also eclipsed the 90-percent mark (91 percent).

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