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USF Athletics Posts Best Graduation Success Rate In Program History

Bulls program improves six points for 83% graduation success rate; Football among seven programs to post highest GSR in program history.


(TAMPA, Nov. 3, 2014) - University of South Florida Athletics posted another program record in the classroom when the NCAA announced Graduation Success Rates (GSR) for all Division I institutions. USF posted a department record 83 percent Graduation Success Rate for scholarship student athletes over a six-year period starting with freshmen that entered college in 2007.

The 83 percent GSR represented a six percent increase over last year’s announced rate and came on the heels of a program record performance in Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores posted in May. The Bulls saw all 18 evaluated teams earn an APR score of 950 or better in that report, a program record and one of just 36 Division I-A football-playing schools to accomplish the feat.

“I’m very proud of what our student-athletes continue to accomplish in the classroom and the coaches and academic services staff that have prioritized and helped facilitate that achievement,” USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan said. “This is a team effort spearheaded by a dedicated academic services staff, coaches and student-athletes committed to reaching their goals and dreams beyond playing field.”

USF has seen its overall program GSR rise in each of the last five years and now exceed the national average for Football Bowl Subdivision schools, which stands at 75 percent. Seven USF Athletics programs exceeded or matched a program record high in GSR during the latest reporting period.USF’s Graduation Success Rates for African-American student-athletes of 75 percent and Hispanic student-athletes of 86 percent were well above the national averages of 68 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

Three USF women’s programs posted perfect GSR scores of 100 led by Jose Fernandez’s women’s basketball program and Ken Eriksen’s softball program, which both posted a perfect score for the third straight year.Women’s tennis also posted 100 percent GSR mark for the fourth time in program history and women’s volleyball saw the greatest improvement on the women’s side increasing its GSR by eight points to 88 percent. All of USF’s eight women’s programs scored an 88 or higher GSR score while averaging a 93 percent score across the board.

Meanwhile, five of USF’s seven men’s programs saw improvement or maintained a high GSR, with four teams improving by an average of 13 points. USF’s men’s programs saw their average GSR jump by eight percent, led by George Kiefer’s men’s soccer program, which posted a program record 86 percent GSR score. The baseball and men’s tennis teams also posted program highs.

Also among the men’s programs to elevate their GSR score was Willie Taggart’s football program, which saw its GSR rise to a program-high 69 percent, an increase of 12 percent over the previous year and the fifth straight year in which the program saw improvement. The Bulls football program previously posted an Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 973, which ranked among the top 25 FBS schools for the second-straight year.

“This is the product of a collaborative effort between the student-athletes, coaches and academic services staff,” USF Associate AD for Academics Jason Linders said. “Credit is due to the student-athletes for their commitment and hard work, as well as our academic support staff, which I believe is the best in the conference. We expect to see continued increases in our GSR numbers in the coming years coinciding with enhanced department services, programming and Mark’s (Harlan) commitment to the student-athlete experience, which has allowed us to add several key staff positions within our student services department.”

USF saw 85 student-athletes graduate during the past three academic terms, including 55 at the conclusion of the 2014 spring semester. USF student-athletes posted a cumulative grade-point average of 3.04 at the conclusion of the most recent term (spring, 2014), marking 13-consecutive semesters at 2.90 or higher. USF student-athletes are currently enrolled in 21 different majors ranging from psychology, political science and education to finance, management, and biomedical sciences.

The Bulls had 184 student-athletes earn Academic All-conference honors during the 2013-14 season, including a record 23 football players.

The Graduation Success Rate data isbased on a six-year cohort prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education.It is designed to show the proportion of student-athletes on any given team who earn a college degree.

The most recent data is based on percentage of student-athletes who entered college in 2007 who earned a degree. The NCAA developed the Division I Graduation Success Rate in response to college and university presidents who wanted graduation data that more accurately reflect the mobility among all college students today. Both the Graduation Success Rate and the Academic Success Rate account for the academic outcomes of student-athletes who transfer from one institution to another.

The GSR is the NCAA's more inclusive calculation of academic success among scholarship student-athletes. The NCAA rate is more accurate than the federally mandated methodology because it includes incoming transfers and students enrolling in the spring semester who receive athletic aid and graduate, and deletes from the calculation student-athletes who leave an institution and were academically eligible to compete. The federal rate does neither.

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