Tech programs with strong numbers in latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate report

BLACKSBURG – The NCAA released its Graduation Success Rate data for member schools on Wednesday afternoon, and six Virginia Tech varsity programs recorded a four-year weighted average of 100 percent from the years encompassing 2007-11.

The NCAA developed the Graduation Success Rate formula, or GSR, as part of its 2003 academic reform initiatives to better measure student-athlete academic success. It differs from the federal graduation rate in several ways, most notably by not penalizing schools that have transfers who depart in good academic standing and by counting transfers who enroll into a school in good academic standing. The GSR also takes into account the academic standing of mid-year enrollees, whereas the federal formula does not.

The NCAA’s GSR metric allows student-athletes six years to earn their degrees. This year’s rate is based on the average of student-athletes who enrolled in 2007, 2008, 2009 and the most recent data of 2010 and also graduated within six years following their enrollment. Thus, those in the 2007 freshman class would have earned a degree by 2013; those in the 2008 class by 2014, those in the 2009 class by 2015, and those in the 2010 class by 2016.

A year ago, five Tech teams finished with a GSR of 100. This year’s six Tech teams in that category (again, four-year average) included men’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving and volleyball. In all, 14 of the 17 sports programs at Tech recorded GSR’s above the national average.

“Given the highly rigorous curriculum that many of our student athletes are undertaking, we are proud to see their overall high level of success reflected in this year’s GSR data,” said Dr. Joseph Tront, the faculty athletics representative to the ACC/NCAA and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech.

Three Tech programs recorded GSR’s of 90 or better, including lacrosse (92), women’s basketball (90), which finished a point ahead of the national average, and men’s swimming and diving. Six other Tech sports finished with a GSR of 85 percent or better, including baseball (85), football (86), men’s soccer (88), softball (89) and women’s track and field (89).

Virginia Tech’s GSR combined for all of its varsity sports listed (women’s golf hadn’t been added as a varsity sport and thus is not part of this report) was 90 percent – three percentage points above the national average. That number was tied for Tech’s third-best percentage since the NCAA implemented its academic reform model in 2003. The Hokies’ GSR ranked second among the public schools in the ACC behind Clemson’s 91. It also ranked tied for eighth in the league overall.

The Hokies’ 86 percent GSR in football ranked fifth in the ACC and first among public universities in the league. The program’s GSR was 11 points above the national average for Division I football-playing schools and 10 points above the national average for FBS schools.

In men’s basketball, the Hokies’ GSR was 80 percent, a number that ranked tied for eighth in the ACC and was two percentage points above the FBS national average.

On a statewide level, Virginia Tech’s overall GSR of 90 was tied for second among all universities behind leader William & Mary. The Hokies’ football GSR ranked tops among all schools in the state.

Eleven Tech programs recorded a single-year GSR of 100 percent for the freshman class of 2010-11 – meaning all freshmen who enrolled in these respective sports during this year graduated within six years. This group includes men’s basketball, men’s golf, men’s soccer, men’s swimming and diving, women’s basketball, lacrosse, softball, women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis, and volleyball.

For those interested in reading more about the NCAA and the latest GSR report, please click here.

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