Oct. 24, 2008
WACO, Texas -
Marshall University's football program was one of 47 programs in the nation recognized by the American Football Coaches Association on Thursday for having a graduation rate of 70% or better. Marshall joins UCF, Rice and Southern Miss as the only Conference USA institutions to obtain this distinction.
"This is an honor we are very proud of and we are committed to seeing that number continue to go up," Marshall Head Coach Mark Snyder said. "Our goal is to graduate 100% of our players and this is an indication that we are on our way to reaching that goal."
Snyder says there are many reasons for Marshall's graduation success and that the hard work of the student-athletes and the emphasis the coaching and support staff places on academics are just a few of them.
"A lot of the credit goes to our student-athletes for the work and dedication they put into their studies. Also, our academic support staff, coaches and administration as a whole share in this success. Our coaching staff puts a heavy emphasis on academics and our players understand that and are responding. This is a key part of the plan we implemented when I arrived here and we are getting closer in all three phases - academic achievement, community outreach and winning."
The University of Colorado will receive the AFCA Academic Achievement Award for a 100% graduation tare for members of its freshman football class of 2001. This year's award marks the first time the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007 the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA.
Forty-six other institutions will be recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Six of those institutions -- Cincinnati, Duke, Navy, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Vanderbilt -- achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 40 institutions are: Air Force, Akron, Alabama, Arkansas State, Army, Baylor, Boston College, Bowling Green, Central Florida, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Middle Tennessee State, Nevada, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio, Oregon State, Penn State, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Texas Tech, Toledo, UCLA, Utah State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin.
The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997 the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.
The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees. Marshall's GSR for the current six-year window is 74.
Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution's GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent. The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.