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Penn State Football Graduation Rates Soar Above National Average

It’s usually like Christmas at Penn State every time the annual NCAA graduation report comes out. This year was no different — the rates were released today, and Penn State’s numbers were stellar across the board.

These numbers are always delayed to account for longer-than-usual graduation times. In this case, the data is for student athletes who started school during the 2003-04 through the 2006-07 academic year — and in the case of football, the numbers still reflect the Joe Paterno era.

88 percent of all Penn State student-athletes graduated during this evaluation, which is seven percentage points higher than the national Graduation Success Rate of 81 percent and the fourth highest GSR in the Big Ten. An incredible eight teams — men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s golf, women’s lacrosse, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis — posted GSRs of 100 percent.

As for Penn State football, the numbers were predictably stellar. The football team’s GSR of 85 percent was second in the Big Ten and 15 percentage points higher than the Division 1 and FBS average. That number is slightly down from last report’s record setting 91 percent GSR, but it is still an incredible figure.

Penn State continues to be one of the NCAA’s gold standards for graduating African-American athletes, with 88 percent of athletes receiving a college degree. That number is 22 percentage points higher than the national average, and second in the Big Ten behind only Northwestern.

In fact, Penn State scored above the national average in every measurable category (click to enlarge).

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 11.53.33 AM

To see Penn State’s graduation rates across all sports, or for graduation rates across Division 1 athletics, there is a database on the NCAA’s website.

Time and time again, this man is proven wrong.

“Our goal is not to be just punitive but to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture and daily mindset in which football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people.” – Mark Emmert

Here’s a comparison chart provided by Penn State.

All Students (four-year federal)

Penn State 86 percent, Division I average: 63 percent

Student-Athletes (four-year GSR)

Penn State 88 percent, Division I: 81 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (97 percent), 4. Penn State (88 percent)

Student-Athletes (four-year federal)

Penn State 78 percent, Division I: 65 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (89 percent), T 2. Penn State (78 percent)

Student-Athletes (entering class of 2006-07)

Penn State 77 percent, Division I: 65 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (91 percent), 2. Illinois (80 percent), 3. Penn State (77 percent)

African-American Student-Athletes (four-year GSR)

Penn State 88 percent, Division I: 66 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (92 percent), 2. Penn State (88 percent)

Female Student-Athletes (four-year GSR)

Penn State 94 percent, Division I: 88 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (98 percent), 7. Penn State State (94 percent)

Female Student-Athletes (four-year federal)

Penn State 86 percent, Division I: 72 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (89 percent), 2. Michigan (87 percent), 3. Penn State (86 percent)

Male Student-Athletes (four-year GSR)

Penn State 85 percent, Division I: 75 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (95 percent), T 2. Penn State (85 percent)

Male Student-Athletes (four-year federal)

Penn State 73 percent, Division I: 58 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (88 percent), 2. Penn State (73 percent)

Football Student-Athletes (four-year GSR)

Penn State 85 percent, Div. I and FBS: 70 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (97 percent), 2. Penn State (85 percent)

Football Student-Athletes (four-year federal)

Penn State 72 percent, Div. I and FBS: 58 percent

Big Ten rankings: 1. Northwestern (92 percent), 2. Penn State (72 percent)

Men’s Basketball Student-Athletes (four-year GSR)

Penn State 100 percent, Division I: 70 percent

Big Ten rankings: T 1. Penn State and Illinois (100 percent)

Women’s Basketball Student-Athletes (four-year GSR)

Penn State 100 percent, Division I: 85 percent

Big Ten rankings: T 1. Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State (100 percent)

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