Wednesday, October 31, 2007
MACON, Ga. – On Thursday, the NCAA released its latest graduation data and once again, the institutions of the Atlantic Sun proved how they follow the conference ideal of Building Winners for Life by repeatedly bettering the national averages. At seven of the eight schools ranked by the NCAA (Florida Gulf Coast, Kennesaw State, UNF and USC Upstate were not ranked), the student-athletes graduated at a higher percentage than the overall student body.
The NCAA tallies graduation rates for baseball, basketball, cross country/track & field and have a field called “other.” By far and away, men’s basketball yielded the highest disparity between the A-Sun and the NCAA. Six of the eight men’s basketball programs produced higher graduation rates than the national average. Gardner-Webb graduated 100 percent of its men’s basketball players who enrolled in 2000-01. When looking at the Student-Athlete Graduation Success Rate, seven of the eight A-Sun men’s basketball programs bettered the national average of 61 percent led by Stetson’s 83 percent.
The NCAA's Student-Athlete Graduation Success Rate report differs in formula from the federal data in that it factors in students who transfer into or out of an institution while in good academic standing.
Of the 56 categories rated (seven categories among eight schools), the Atlantic Sun programs produced five school sports with a 100-percent graduation rate. Three of the five 100-percent marks came from A-Sun women’s cross country/track & field programs. ETSU, Mercer and Stetson each received perfect marks. Eleven programs produced a 100-percent Graduation Success Rate. Three of Lipscomb’s sports (men’s and women’s cross country/track & field plus women’s basketball) earned a 100-percent Graduation Success Rate.
Overall, four of the eight A-Sun schools earned higher Graduation Success Rate numbers than the NCAA average of 77 percent and Mercer matched the national number. Belmont recorded the highest Graduation Success Rate at 88 percent. Six of the seven Bruins’ sports posted a higher Graduation Success Rate than the national average. The Bruins, along with Jacksonville were the only two Atlantic Sun schools with higher graduation percentages for student-athletes than the national average of 63 percent.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is a 12-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.