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Football Earns AFCA Academic Award Recognition

Dec. 8, 2010

WACO, Texas - Marshall University's Football Program has been recognized by the American Football Coaches Association for its outstanding graduation rate. Marshall's football program is one of only 15 in major college football to have a graduation rate of 90% or better based on the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate formula.

Northwestern University and Rice University will share the AFCA's 2010 Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis to the school with the top graduation rate. Northwestern and Rice recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2003. This is the sixth honor for Northwestern and the first for Rice since the award's inception. The award will be presented at the AFCA President's Kickoff Luncheon on Monday, January 10 at the 2011 AFCA Convention in Dallas.

This year's award marks the third 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. Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA's Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.

Forty-two other institutions will be recognized with honorable mention honors for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Thirteen of those institutions -- Air Force, Army, Boston College, BYU, Duke, Iowa, Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Navy, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia -- achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 29 institutions are: Arizona State, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Auburn, Boise State, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Southern Mississippi, SMU, Stanford, Temple, TCU, Texas Tech, UNLV, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest and Washington.



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 formerly 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.

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.