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NCAA graduation rates reach another record high at 90%

November 17, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, file photo, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck, right, celebrates with wide receiver Tyler Johnson (6) after Johnson caught a touchdown pass during the second half of an NCAA football game against Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill. Fleck has never lacked for clever ways to connect and motivate his players. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)
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FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, file photo, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck, right, celebrates with wide receiver Tyler Johnson (6) after Johnson caught a touchdown pass during the second half of an NCAA football game against Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill. Fleck has never lacked for clever ways to connect and motivate his players. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — College athletes continue to graduate at record rates and outperform non-athletes, according to the NCAA’s new Graduation Success Rate report.

The data released Tuesday shows 90% of Division I athletes who enrolled in 2013 earned a degree within six years — an increase of 1 percentage point over last year’s previous high and 10 percentage points above the goal established by the late NCAA President Myles Brand in 2006.

The federal report shows 69% of all students earn degrees within six years, though that does not count students who enroll at one school and graduate from another.

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“To see 90% of student-athletes accomplish the ultimate goal of college graduation is a testament to their hard work and dedication,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “We must also support initiatives that help the remaining 10% of student-athletes earn their degrees.”

Men’s basketball players led the way with a 4 percentage point jump to 87%. The percentage of women’s basketball players earning degrees increased by 2 points to 93% while players from the Football Bowl Subdivision saw a slight slip, from 82% to 81%.

The numbers among Black basketball players also improved significantly, going from 79% to 85% on the men’s side and from 87% to 90% among women. The percentages of white basketball players slipped 2 percentage points among women, to 97%, and 1 point, to 92%, among men.

Overall, though, the percentages increased almost universally.

The overall number for Black athletes also by increased 1 point to 80% while white athletes maintained a 93% graduation rate. Hispanic/Latino athletes held steady at a rate of 87%.

Football Championship Subdivision teams hit 80% for the first time thanks to a 1 point jump over last year and women’s ice hockey came in at 100%. In fact, every women’s sport was at or above 90% except bowling, which came in at 84%.

The four-year scores showed 1 percentage point gains in baseball, basketball, cross country and track, the FBS and FCS and golf, while rifle with lacrosse and wrestling both recorded 2-percentage point increases.

Fencing dropped 3 points over the four-year cohort and water polo lost 2 percentage points. Both were at 91% and were the only sports to lose ground over that span.