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Notre Dame student athletes rank second in graduation rate

Steve Kerins | Monday, November 15, 2004

The NCAA ranked Notre Dame student-athletes second among Division I-A colleges and universities in its graduation rate, according to a study released in October.

Notre Dame shares its ranking with Northwestern and Stanford, each with a four-year average graduation rate of 87 percent of student-athletes. First-place Duke graduated 90 percent of its student-athletes. The national average for Division I-A schools is 61 percent.

Senior Associate Athletic Director John Heisler said being ranked high in athlete graduations is nothing new.

“If you looked at the rankings themselves or the graduation rates themselves, they’re almost the same as six years ago, which says that things have been done consistently over the course of time,” Heisler said. “We’ve been routinely in the top half dozen in the country.”

According to the formula used by the NCAA, an athlete is considered to have graduated if he or she matriculated within six years of entrance. Students who leave or transfer for any reason are considered non-graduates.

The report also states that Notre Dame graduated 94 percent of women competing in varsity athletics, ranking third behind Northwestern and Duke. Among men, Notre Dame graduated 82 percent, ranking third behind Duke and Stanford.

Additionally, Notre Dame graduated 71 percent of its black student-athletes, ranking ninth nationally and 77 percent of Irish football players graduated, ranking eighth.

Among athletes who completed all four years of athletic eligibility, 99 percent graduated, compared to a national average of 84 percent.

The NCAA Graduation Rates Report is a federally mandated survey compiled each year. The 2004 report covers students enrolled between 1994 and 1997 at all 328 Division I institutions, including the 117 in Division I-A.

Heisler said achieving this ranking will only continue to push student-athletes to achieve his or her best.

“It speaks very well for our academic support system in general,” he said. “We try to tell people if you’re a solid enough student, you’re going to get your degree with very, very rare exceptions.”