AFCA recognizes Texas Football for outstanding graduation rate
WACO, Texas -- The University of Texas was one of 32 football programs recognized by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) for graduating at least 70 percent of its student-athletes, the AFCA announced Thursday. The AFCA review was of freshman student-athletes that enrolled in 2001.
"We're really excited about how hard our guys are working in the classroom and the success they're having off the field," said Mack Brown. "Seeing them earn their degrees and pick up their T-Rings is as rewarding as all of the victories they've helped us get on the field. We have room to improve and our academic staff is working hard with the team to continue that progress, but right now we feel very good about the number of guys we have succeeding both on the field and in the classroom."
Like the NCAA graduation rates, the AFCA study takes the averages of all scholarship football players that graduate in the five-year window. But, the AFCA review takes into consideration transfers. If a student-athlete transfers in good academic standing, he does not count against the school he transferred from.
Of the student-athletes that signed and completed their eligibility with the Longhorns from 2001-05, over 70 percent have earned their degrees by the AFCA criteria. Texas joined Baylor, Nebraska and Texas Tech as the four Big 12 schools with a graduation rate of 70 percent or better.
The AFCA graduation rate announcement is just an extension of the success the UT football program is having in the classroom. At UT's recent Men's Athletics Academic Awards Presentation, 66 members of the football team were honored with the Athletics Director's Award, recognizing a grade point average of 3.0 or better. The group included seven winners of the Provost Award, recognizing a 4.0 GPA.
Over each of the last four semesters, Texas has had at least 40 players earn spots on the Athletics Director's Honor Roll for posting at least a 3.0 GPA. That number was topped out by a UT record 51 members of the Athletics Director's Honor Roll during the 'Horns National Championship run in the fall of 2005. Texas also led the Big 12 in selections to the 2006 Academic All-Big 12 Football Team with 24, including 14 on the first team.
"I think it says a lot about what our academic staff and our coaches try to work with us on," said DT Frank Okam. "They really stress our players being student-athletes. They allow you to miss practice for classes and study groups and other necessities for your education. In the progress I've seen over the past couple of years, it's encouraging to see most of our starters and key players achieve honors like at our recent academics awards banquet. It says a lot of our guys are competing with the top students that go to our school."
The 32 institutions recognized by the AFCA for graduating 70 percent or more of their football student-athletes were: Alabama, Arkansas State, Ball State, Baylor, Boston College, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana Tech, Miami (Ohio), Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Penn State, Rice, Rutgers, Syracuse, TCU, Texas Tech, Toledo, Troy, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington State, Wisconsin.
The overall graduation rate of the 107 schools that responded to the survey was 60 percent, surpassing the mark of 58 percent in each of the previous two years. Fifty-two of the members responding were above the average and 55 were below the average. The median graduation rate was 59 percent, compared to 57 percent for the last two years. The 107 respondents to this year's survey is a record high. One hundred and four schools replied in 2006.