Rams score big in NCAA graduation report

Football student-athlete Trent Matthews works with tutor Joylynn Benefiel while doing homework at the Anderson Academic Center. CSU's overall student-athletes lead the Mountain West in graduation rate for the fifth consecutive year.

Football student-athlete Trent Matthews works with tutor Joylynn Benefiel while doing homework at the Anderson Academic Center. CSU's overall student-athletes lead the Mountain West in graduation rate for the fifth consecutive year.

Nov. 1, 2011

By Tony Phifer
Colorado State University

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- CSU, for the fifth consecutive year, leads the Mountain West in graduation rates for student-athletes.

The NCAA recently released data documenting graduation rates for all NCAA Division I colleges and universities. CSU finished ahead of most of its peer universities and the national average.

“We’ve very proud of our track record, our academic staff and our student-athletes when it comes to graduation rates,” Director of Athletics Paul Kowalczyk said. “Everyone here understands the importance of getting a degree. It’s a point of emphasis and expectation for our student-athletes, and our coaches do a great job of recruiting kids with character who want to get a degree.”

The NCAA released figures based on graduation success for scholarship student-athletes and the overall student body for those who enrolled in 2004-05.

According to the NCAA’s most recent graduation success rate, CSU graduated 83 percent of its student athletes.  

The overall graduation rate for all NCAA Division I institutions is 65 percent for student-athletes and 63 percent for the overall student body. The average rate for the Mountain West is 62 percent for both student-athletes and the student body.

In addition to leading the Mountain West, CSU finished ahead of schools such as the University of Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas A&M and Washington State in student-athlete graduation rate.

Kowalczyk said he remains committed to helping each of CSU’s approximately 360 student-athletes graduate. CSU last year opened the Anderson Academic Center adjacent to the McGraw Athletic Center, and added a full-time academic counselor to the athletic department staff.

“Facilities are extremely important when talking about the long-term success of the program,” Kowalczyk said. “But what matters most is the overriding culture and philosophy of the athletic department as it applies to helping student-athletes graduate. When you have all three – culture, staff and facilities – you have a truly successful and winning combination.”

Football team ties for 21st in nation
According to the NCAA Web site, CSU’s football team and its graduation success rate of 78 percent ranks tied for second in the Mountain West and tied for 21st in the nation among FBS programs. In the conference, only Air Force (84 percent) and TCU (also 78 percent) were in the Rams’ range.  CSU’s football graduation rate ranks higher than any school in the Big 12 conference.

A closer look at graduation success rates among area student-athletes…

Colorado State
Overall student-athlete graduation success rate: 83 percent
Men overall: 77
Women overall: 90
Football: 78
Men's basketball: 64
Women's basketball: 92

Colorado
Overall graduation success rate: 74 percent
Men overall: 64
Women overall: 89
Football: 59
Men's basketball: 43
Women's basketball: 91

Denver
Overall graduation success rate: 91 percent
Men overall: 85
Women overall: 98
Men's hockey: 92
Men's basketball: 83
Women's basketball: 91

Wyoming
Overall graduation success rate: 73 percent
Men overall: 65
Women overall: 84
Football: 64
Men's basketball: 22
Women's basketball: 93

NOTE: Air Force does not release all data.

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