Duke, Vanderbilt to Receive 2015 Academic Award


WACO, TEX. — Duke University and Vanderbilt University will share the American Football Coaches Asso­­ciation’s 2015 Aca­demic Achieve­ment Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. Duke and Vanderbilt recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2008. This is the 14th time Duke has won the award, which leads all schools. Vanderbilt received its fourth honor. The award will be presented at the President’s Kickoff Luncheon on Monday, January 11 at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio.

This year’s award marks the eighth time the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA. Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA’s Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.

Sixty-three other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Thirteen of those institutions — Arkansas State, Boise State, Bowling Green State, Central Florida, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Rice, South Carolina, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Western Kentucky — achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 50 institutions are: Air Force, Alabama, Alabama-Birmingham, Baylor, Boston College, Clemson, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Kent State, Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Navy, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, SMU, South Florida, Syracuse, TCU, Temple, Texas-San Antonio, Texas Tech, Troy, Tulane, Tulsa, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, Wake Forest, Washington State and Wisconsin.

The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.

The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees.

Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.

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