Do College Athletes Graduate?


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The above question arises often when I talk with parents about the opportunities for athletes to graduate. The parents question the time commitment to their son or daughters athletics that will take away from their learning and studying. These parents are concerned whether their children will walk across the stage after four or five years in their cap-and-gown to attain their college degree.

The latest graduation rates from the NCAA were published this week and, once again, the graduation rates for student-athletes eclipses those of the general student population.

79% of collegiate student-athletes who began their freshman year in 2003 graduated within four or five years. Only 63% of the general student population graduated within the same time frame.

The obvious question is why. What do college athletes do to help them graduate?

No one has come forth with definitive answers to this question but here are some benefits that college athletes do take advantage of:

·      Academic Support: most colleges and universities have Academic Support Centers but these are infrequently utilized by the general student population. Many students fail to seek help when they need it whereas college athletes tend to be pushed towards additional help when they need it.

·      Safety Nets: college coaches, with the help of additional support personnel, monitor the academics of their students. If there are red flags that will lead to failure in the classroom students will receive the counseling and academic help they need to succeed.

·      Time Management: one of the skills that athletes learn at an early age is how to manage their time. Athletes know how to manage their athletic schedule and get their academic work completed rather than being dragged into time-suckers such as online gaming or a negative social life like non-athletes can.

·      The Need to Succeed: all student-athletes are under the (positive) pressure of the NCAA Eligibility Requirements having a need to pass their classes and work towards completing their graduation requirements.

Although we do not know why student-athletes graduate at a higher rate, we do know that they do. It says a lot about the mission of the NCAA and how it can positively impact you to be both a student and an athlete as you attain your bachelor degree.

For more information on the NCAA Graduation Success Rate click here.


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