AFCA Honors Owls for Graduation Success

Nov. 29, 2011

David Bailiff's Rice Owls again rank among the national leaders among football programs whose student-athletes complete their college careers with a degree in hand. For the 23rd time in the last 24 years, the Owls have been recognized by the American Football Coaches Association in its annual initiative to recognize the top graduation rates in college football.

The Owls will pick up their 22nd honorable mention citation to go along with the Academic Excellence Award they shared with the Northwestern Wildcats last year. The Owls were cited for having a graduation success rate of 90% or better for its freshman football student-athlete class of 2004. This is the fourth consecutive year that 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-four other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Fifteen of those institutions -- Air Force, Army, Boston College, Central Florida, Duke, Florida, Iowa, Miami (Fla.), Navy, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rice, Stanford -- achieved a rate of 90 percent or better.

The remaining 29 institutions are: Arkansas State, Baylor, Bowling Green State, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado State, Fresno State, Illinois, LSU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina, Ohio, Rutgers, SMU, Syracuse, TCU, Texas Tech, Tulane, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.

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.

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.

2011 Conference Breakdown of Winners and Honorable Mentions: Conference USA- 7, ACC- 6, Big 10- 4, Big East- 4, MAC- 4, Mountain West- 4, Independents- 3, Pac-12- 3, SEC- 3, Sun Belt- 3, WAC- 3, Big 12- 2.

Academic Achievement Award Winners Through the Years

1981: Duke*
1982: Notre Dame*
1983: Notre Dame*
1984: Duke & Notre Dame*
1985: Virginia*
1986: Virginia*
1987: Duke*
1988: Notre Dame*
1989: Kentucky*
1990: Duke*
1991: Notre Dame*
1992: Boston College & TCU*
1993: Duke*
1994: Duke*
1995: Boston College, Duke & Wake Forest*
1996: Boston College, Duke & Vanderbilt*
1997: Duke*
1998: Northwestern
1999: Duke
2000: Syracuse
2001: Notre Dame & Vanderbilt
2002: Northwestern
2003: Duke
2004: Boston College & Northwestern
2005: Duke & Northwestern
2006: SMU
2007: Northwestern & Notre Dame
2008: Vanderbilt
2009: Notre Dame & Miami (Fla.)
2010: Northwestern & Rice
2011: Boise State & Miami (Ohio)

*- Presented by the College Football Association Most Awards: Duke, 12; Notre Dame, 8; Northwestern, 6; Boston College, 4; Vanderbilt, 3. Most Honorable Mentions: Notre Dame, 22; Virginia, 22; Rice, 22; Penn State, 21; Vanderbilt, 20.



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