Three Schools to Receive 2016 Academic Achievement Award


WACO, TEX. — The University of Miami (Fla.), Northwestern University and Stanford University will share the American Football Coaches Asso­­ciation’s 2016 Aca­demic Achieve­ment Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. Miami (Fla.), Northwestern and Stanford recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2009. This is Miami’s (Fla.) second honor, Northwestern’s ninth and Stanford’s fourth. With their ninth win, Northwestern ties Notre Dame for second all-time. The award will be presented at the Honors Luncheon on Monday, January 9 at the 2017 AFCA Convention in Nashville.

This year’s award marks the ninth 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.

Seventy-five other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Seventeen of those institutions — Baylor, Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Temple, Tulane, Utah, UTEP, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest — achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 58 institutions are: Akron, Appalachian State, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas State, Army-West Point, Auburn, Boise State, Bowling Green State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Colorado State, Florida, Florida International, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Navy, Nebraska, North Texas, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Oregon, Purdue, Rice, San Jose State, South Florida, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Texas State, Toledo, UCLA, USC, UT-San Antonio, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Washington, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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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