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Graduation rates for Division I athletes hold steady

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INDIANAPOLIS — The graduation rate for men's basketball players at major colleges dropped from 42 percent to 40 percent, the second lowest since 1984, according to the latest NCAA survey.

But graduation rates for all Division I athletes remained at 58 percent — the same as surveys conducted the last two years by the governing body for college sports.

The results released Monday were for athletes with scholarships who entered college in 1994. The graduation rate among athletes remained 2 percentage points higher than the rate for the general student population.

Since higher eligibility standards were set for incoming freshmen in 1986, graduation rates have hovered between 57-58 percent, the NCAA said.

Among white male basketball players in Division I, the graduation rate dropped from 56 percent in the 1993 group to 52 percent in 1994.

However, the rate for Division I black male basketball players rose to 35 percent — 1 percentage point higher than the 1993 rate and 4 percentage points higher than the black male student body.

Black female basketball players in Division I showed the single largest increase ever, graduating 61 percent from the class that enrolled in 1994 — a 9 percentage point jump from the previous year and 19 percentage points higher than the black female general student population.

Division I white female basketball players also showed a slight increase, graduating 70 percent in the 1994 group, compared with 69 percent among students who entered in 1993.

Overall, women basketball players at Division I schools graduated at a rate of 65 percent, up 2 percentage points.

Graduation rates for Division I football players also improved, from 48 percent to 51 percent.

The NCAA began tracking graduation rates in 1984, using a formula that counts all transfer students — even if they go elsewhere and graduate — against the rates of their original school. It allows six years to complete a degree program, so graduation rates for the 1995 freshman class will not be compiled and announced until next year.