NCAA Data Offers Insights on Athlete Academic Choices | Athletic Business

NCAA Data Offers Insights on Athlete Academic Choices

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The Division I Diploma Dashboard and Division II Diploma Dashboard have been updated with data from the 2019-20 academic year. 

The data, which compare undergraduate degrees conferred by college athletes with those of the general student body, can be sorted by gender, race and sport, plus other variables. The data goes back to the 2006-07 academic year for Division I and 2010-11 for Division II.

Rising academic standards have had little impact on student-athlete degree choices. Over the past 10 years, degrees awarded to student-athletes have followed trends similar to those of the general student body.

"The diploma dashboard has proven to be a popular resource for our member schools, researchers and the general public," said Tom Paskus, principal research scientist for the NCAA. "This tool continues to provide transparency in the majors student-athletes choose and support discussions on high school and college campuses."

Key findings from latest data:

STEM Focus

In Division II, female student-athletes are more likely than women in the general student body to pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering or math. The data shows that 20 percent of Division II female student-athletes are pursuing STEM degrees, compared with 13 percent of women in the general student body. Seventeen percent of Black female student-athletes in Division II are pursuing degrees in the field, compared with 10 percent of Black women in the general student body. 

In Division I, the percentage of female student-athletes (18 percent) pursuing a STEM degree is nearly the same as for women in the general student body (19 percent).  

Business Minded 

College athletes are more likely than their nonathlete peers to major in business. In both divisions, student-athletes earn business degrees at a higher rate than the general student body. In Division I, the rate is 26 percent of college athletes compared with 18% of the general student body. In Division II, the rate is 33 percent of college athletes compared with 21percent of their nonathlete peers. In Division I, the percentage of male student-athletes pursuing a degree in business is 32 percent, compared with only 23 percent of the general male student body.  

Continued Athletic Involvement

Consistent with the findings of the 2018 launch of the diploma dashboard, student-athletes are twice as likely to graduate with a degree related to athletics or fitness. In 2019-20, 6 percent of Division I college athletes earned degrees in fields such as parks, recreation and fitness, compared with 3 percent of the general student body. At the Division II level, 8 percent of college athletes graduated with degrees in those fields, compared with 4 percent of the general student body.  


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