Graduation Rates Are Going Among in College Football
By Maurice Berry
For as long as I can remember athletes, especially the male athletes, have been targeted. People are looking for them to get in trouble or fall behind in school. Being a student-athlete is an honor and some take it for granted and some don't. It is also hard being a student-athlete because of the critical world we live in. Some feel that the graduation rate is one of the biggest assessments of how student athletes are doing. Now, you do have coaches at the high school- and collegiate-level who could care less about the player's life outside of athletics. Today, the hook is real quick for high school and college sports, especially football. We have seen it so many times. Everything is about winning after you get past the youth level. Presidents and athletic directors have no time to hear about rebuilding or being a few years away. It's either produce or go coach somewhere else. Where is the care about the players' academics? What does it mean to be a winning with a player who barely has a 2.5 GPA? How many times have we seen a player with Division I statistics and talent go to a Division 2, Division 3 or community college? Why? Because the player didn't want to get it done in the classroom. They were too busy focusing on the next game or how many girls ask about them. Where is the coach? He's most likely wondering how he can get the kid the ball or winning a championship. In reality, the coach's first thoughts should be making sure the kid and all of his players are in class.
Things are getting better; the NCAA recently reported that when it comes to Football Bowl Subdivision players, the graduation rate is up to 69 percent for players who entered in 2003. This is a 3 percent increase from last season's numbers on the report. In general, athletes are graduating at a 79 percent rate, with basketball at a 66 percent rate. NCAA president Mark Emmert said the data help eliminate the perception of the so-called "dumb jock."
"We are by no means satisfied by what we are reporting, but it's a step in the right direction," Emmert said. In terms of progress by African Americans, Emmert estimated that 300 more African- American student-athletes graduated last year than in the previous year.