Study: Many Bowl Teams Fail to Make the Grade
College football teams playing in this season’s bowl games may be high scorers on the field, but a new study reveals the opposite may be true off the field, particularly when it comes to graduation rates.
The study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates for 2002-03 Bowl-bound College Football Teams,” was released last month by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. The study, which analyzed graduation rates for 55 college and university teams playing in 28 bowl games, compared graduation rates for all student-athletes to football student-athletes and African American football student-athletes in particular.
The study revealed that for most of the colleges and universities, the graduation rate of all student-athletes was higher than that of football student-athletes. At the majority of the schools, African American football student-athletes had lower graduation rates than their teammates, with significant decreases in many instances.
“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 promise 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,” says Dr. Richard Lapchick, the director of the institute. “It is a scandal that has been waiting to be fixed for generations of student-athletes playing revenue sports,” Lapchick adds.
The study showed that some football programs can win big and still ensure the complete education of their student-athletes. Six of eight BCS Bowl teams graduated more than 45 percent of all football student-athletes and five had the same record for their African American student-athletes.
“If there were a BCS series for the top graduation rates among bowl teams, Tulane and Notre Dame would have played for the National Championship. Both graduated at least 74 percent of all football student-athletes, including African American football student-athletes. Penn State, Virginia, Boston College, Wake Forest, Mississippi, USC, Iowa and Oregon, all with football student-athlete graduation rates of 63 percent and higher, would also have made the top 10,” Lapchick says.
“You can have scholar athletes and win at the same time. These schools are proof,” Lapchick adds.
NCAA statistics were used in the study. For more information visit the Institute’s Web site at
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