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NCAA Sees Rising Graduation Rates for Black Players

Jason Scott

The NCAA announced yesterday that African-American men’s basketball student-athletes set a record this year for graduation rates, with 77 percent of Division I players earning a degree within six years.

According to the NCAA, black men’s basketball players improved their GSR by five percent compared to last year, and 31 percent over the last 15 years.  

The report comes as part of the data the NCAA released on Graduation Success Rates. Overall, GSR for all DI student-athletes sits at 86 percent, which ties an all-time high set last year. The NCAA says that because of academic reforms the organization has made, 19,496 more student-athletes have graduated from college than would have if the GSR remained at 1995 levels.

“This is a hugely significant and extremely important moment,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “Over the last 15 years, the overall Graduation Success Rate has dramatically improved, but the really good news is how college sports helps more and more minority students, especially those playing our highest-profile sport, earn a degree that will help them long after their athletics career is over.”

The NCAA’s GSR is calculated with a formula different than the federal graduation rate. GSR removes student-athletes who leave school while academically eligible, and includes those who transfer schools, while the federal graduation rate counts any student who leaves school (including those who transfer) as an academic failure. Using the federal graduation rate calculation, Division I student-athletes graduate at a rate similar to the at-large student body.

However, broken out into groups, minority student-athletes outperform their peers in the general student body. For example, African-American male student-athletes earned a federal graduation rate 11 points higher than members of the same group in the general student population.

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