Basketball team is graduation rate champion among champions

by Dennis Brown

The Notre Dame women’s basketball team compiled the highest graduation rate among this past season’s national champions in the sports for which the NCAA monitors team graduation rates, according to a survey prepared for this week’s issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.p. Notre Dame’s 85 percent graduation rate in women’s basketball exceeded that of the next highest champion, the Duke men’s basketball team, by 10 percentage points.p. The Chronicle prepared the survey in response to a recent recommendation from the Knight Foundation’s Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics to prohibit teams with graduation rates of less than 50 percent from competing in conference and national championship tournaments.p. In addition to women’s basketball, Notre Dame’s graduation rates in the sports for which statistics are kept were: football, 82 percent; baseball, 81 percent; men’s basketball, 86 percent; men’s track and cross country, 100 percent; and women’s track and cross country, 77 percent. (The NCAA combines the graduation rates for cross country and indoor and outdoor track programs.)p. The most recent NCAA graduation rates survey covers students who enrolled between 1990 and 1993 at 321 Division I institutions, including 114 in Division I-A. The NCAA bases graduation rates on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered nongraduates.p. Using the NCAA formula, Notre Dame graduated a four-year average of 89 percent of its student-athletes, third only to Northwestern and Duke Universities at 92 and 91 percent, respectively. Among student-athletes who complete all four years of athletic eligibility at Notre Dame, that is, not considering those who leave or transfer, 99 percent earn their degrees. The national average for Division I-A schools is 58 percent.p. Among all students, Notre Dame’s 94 percent graduation rate is exceeded by only Harvard and Princeton Universities.

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