The standard evaluations of NCAA student-athlete graduation rates involve comparisons with rates for the general student body. The latter rates as actually calculated, however, include a significant number of part-time students at many schools. This is problematic because athletes must be full-time, and should be compared with other full-time students. The downward “part-timer bias” in the student body rate distorts the comparison, making the relative graduation rates for athletes appear more favorable. Example calculations demonstrate that relative rates for major college football and men’s basketball players are substantially worse when the bias is removed.
E. Woodrow Eckard
Richard M. Southall, E. Woodrow Eckard, Mark S. Nagel, and Morgan H. Randall
Within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Division I men’s basketball many profit-athletes travel to Predominately White Institution (PWI) work sites for “pre-professional” sport opportunities. At most PWIs the Black male student population is less than ten percent, while football and men’s basketball rosters are overwhelmingly comprised of Black athletes. This study—using multiple regression models—examines the relationship between athletic success and profit-athletes’ graduation rates. The main dependent variable is the Adjusted Graduation Gap (AGG) as a measure of academic success. Results indicated Black profit-athletes who play for the most successful FBS football and NCAA D-I men’s basketball programs graduate at significantly lower rates than full-time male students. However, at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Black football and men’s basketball players graduate at higher rates than full-time male students.