If graduation rates determined postseason matchups, Tulane would play Notre Dame for the national championship, and Oklahoma and Arkansas would meet in the most minor of the 28 bowl games, according to a study released yesterday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.p. Tulane (7-5) instead has a date with Hawaii (10-3) in the Hawaii Bowl, and the Fighting Irish (10-2) will meet North Carolina State (10-3) in the Gator Bowl. At Tulane, 80 percent of the football players graduated, and at Notre Dame, 74 percent graduated, the study said.
“Penn State, Virginia, Boston College, Wake Forest, Mississippi, U.S.C., Iowa and Oregon, all with football student-athlete graduation rates of 63 percent and higher, would also have made the top 10,” said Dr. Richard Lapchick, the director of the institute and the author of the study. “You can have scholar athletes and win at the same time. These schools are proof.”
The study examined graduation rates for 55 of the 56 teams bound for bowl games; Air Force, which will play Virginia Tech in the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl, and the other service academies do not release graduation statistics.
The analysis showed a graduation rate of more than 45 percent for six of the eight universities that will play in the four Bowl Championship Series games. At five of the six universities, African-American players graduated at a rate similar to white players.
The overall graduation rates were much lower at two universities going to a B.C.S. bowl. At Oklahoma, only 26 percent of all football players graduated, said the study, which was based on N.C.A.A. data. Ohio State, which will meet Miami in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship, had a graduation rate of 36 percent.
At some universities bound for B.C.S. bowls, the graduation rates for African-American players were considerably lower than for white players. At Ohio State, only 27 percent of African-American players graduated, compared with an overall rate of 36 percent, the study found.
At Arkansas, which is 9-4 and heading to the Music City Bowl, the graduation rate for all football players was 28 percent and just 16 percent for African-Americans, the lowest rate for black players among the 55 teams in the study.
The study showed that for most of the colleges and universities, the graduation rate for all athletes was higher than that of football players. Moreover, at a majority of the colleges, the graduation rate for African-American football players was lower than the rate of their white teammates, with significant gaps in many instances.
Among the findings:
At 25 of the 55 universities, graduation rates for football players were 10 to 20 percent lower than the college’s overall graduation rate for student athletes.
At 38 of the 55 colleges, graduation rates for African-American football players were from 10 to 30 percent lower than the rate for all athletes.
At only five universitiesNotre Dame, Penn State, Washington, Wake Forest and Tulanedid more than two-thirds of African-American football players graduate.
At least half of African-American football players graduated at only 16 of the universities.
At 18 of the universities, the graduation rate for African-American football players was less than 35 percent.
Lapchick said: "We are releasing these graduation rates in order to give sports fans the perspective on how well our institutions of higher education are doing off the football field, with their promises to all student-athletes who come through their doors to give them an education and help them earn a college degree.
“It is obvious that too many universities do not fulfill their promises, especially to African-American student-athletes who play football.”