Georgetown received the second-highest student-athlete graduation rate in the Big East Conference, graduating 97 percent of its athletes, according to NCAA statistics released yesterday.

“We’re pleased with our overall rate and the success of our student-athletes and teams,” Bernard Muir, director of athletics, said. “One of the missions of the university is the education of the whole person and we are not only pleased with the results, but it is something that we expect of our program.”

The NCAA’s new Graduation Success Rate (GSR) reflects a four-point increase over the federal government’s calculation of Georgetown athletes’ graduation rates. It is also four points higher than the graduation rate for the entire undergraduate student body.

Using a new formula to calculate transfer students, the NCAA’s system includes 24,000 student-athletes that the federal rate left out.

Under its new formula, the NCAA found that 76 percent of Division I student-athletes nationwide graduated between 1995-98. This figure is 14 points higher than the federal rate for the same time period.

In the 16-team Big East conference, Georgetown ranked second behind Notre Dame, whose GSR is eight points higher than its federal rate. Using the NCAA’s new formula, several Big East schools experienced double-digit jumps in their graduation rates.

Wayne Knoll, faculty athletics representative and associate professor of English, credited Georgetown’s success to the athletic department’s commitment to the Jesuit ideals of sound mind and body.

“Because of our reputation for excellence in both the athletic arena and academics, Georgetown University is highly regarded in the Big East conference,” Knoll said.

Knoll also praised the efforts that the university makes to support its student-athletes, such as the recent hiring of Shelly K. Habel as academic coordinator for student-athletes. Habel declined to comment for this story.

Knoll added that the Athletic Academic Policy Committee, which includes Knoll, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, Athletic Director Bernard Muir, deans and faculty members is an important part of Georgetown athletes’ academic success.

“One of the things we do at the beginning of each semester is . go over the grades and the academic situation of all teams, male and female, and of every single student . with an eye to being proactive on behalf of the student when that’s necessary, rather than just let the student get in trouble,” Knoll said.

Georgetown’s 97-percent GSR is also reflective of the addition of two current women’s sports following the 1995-98 data period. Women’s sports often have much higher graduation rates than men’s sports, such as women’s lacrosse, which received the highest national ranking at 94 percent.

The NCAA also released sport-by-sport graduation rates last month, in which 10 of 17 Georgetown sports received 100 percent GSRs. The federal rate, on the other hand, showed 100 percent graduation rates in six sports.

Nationally, men’s basketball had the lowest graduation rates, followed by football and baseball. In these sports, however, Georgetown’s graduation rates increased from the federal rates to GSR rates of 99 percent for football, 50 percent for men’s basketball and 95 percent for baseball.

Men’s basketball is the only sport in which Georgetown finished below the national averages.

“All of our teams work hard both on and off the field,” Muir added. “We hope to see this rate grow in the future.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.