Practice, class, practice, class, practice, homework, class, clubs/organizations, homework, game, practice, class, homework, projects, practice game and then maybe laundry – goes the schedule of collegiate athletes.
Compare that to a typical full-time student’s schedule of class, homework, clubs/organizations and of course maybe laundry…maybe. A student athlete’s schedule is more demanding than a typical student’s.
However, N.C.A.A. student athletes are now graduating at record rates, higher rates than other students, according to the N.C.A.A.’s annual release on graduations figures, cited by an article in The New York Times.
The N.C.A.A.’s release stated that 79 percent of Division I student athletes beginning their freshmen years in between the 2000/2001 and 2003/2004 school years acquired a degree within six years.
The latest entering class beginning in 2003/2004 school year reached the 79 percent mark, matching the record high of the two previous years.
The federal graduation statistics were different, however. These statistics showed this year’s student athletes only graduate at a 64 percent mark, which was higher than the overall student body’s numbers at 63 percent. The N.C.A.A. uses its own statistics, separate from federal numbers.
The New York Times stated that student athletes typically graduate higher than the overall student body.
Division I football and basketball student athletes still have the lowest graduation figures of all athletes. However, they are performing better in the classroom and graduating at now higher percentages.
Scholarships could be the factor that is helping student athletes graduate at higher percentages than the overall student body. Many students drop out of college or fail to complete their degrees because of financial constraints. Most – but not all student athletes – receive full scholarships as long as they meet specific grade requirements. These full scholarships create stronger incentives and more opportunities for athletes to stay in college.
Also, the N.C.A.A. has demonstrated a strong commitment to increasing its student athletes’ graduation figures.