Wednesday, July 2nd, 1997

Hokie Football Graduation Rate is Middle of the Pack

The USA Today ran an article the other day in which they reordered last year's Top 25 football teams by six-year graduation rates of the players. The six-year graduation rate is the percentage of athletes who graduated within six years of first attending school. In this case, this year's figures represent what percentage of athletes entering in 1991 graduated within six years.

Here's how the football Top 25 looks if you arrange it according to graduation rates:

        School (rank in poll)     Grad Rate
        1. Northwestern (16)      82%         2. Penn State (7)         80%         3. Notre Dame (21)        77%         4. Iowa (18)              67%         5. Michigan (20)          66%         6. Miami, Fla. (14)       65%         7. Nebraska (6)           63%            North Carolina (10)    63%         9. Florida State (3)      60%         10. Syracuse (19)         59%
        11. Virginia Tech (12)    56%
        12. Brigham Young (5)     54%         Division I-A average      54%
        13. Washington (15)       52%             Texas (23)            52%         15. Auburn (25)           48%         16. Florida (1)           44%             Arizona State (4)     44%             Alabama (11)          44%         19. Colorado (8)          43%         20. Wyoming (22)          42%         21. Tennessee (9)         41%             Kansas State (17)     41%         23. Ohio State (2)        40%         24. Louisiana State (13)  39%         --  Army (24)             Not Available 

Some items worthy of note:

  • Tech's graduation rate of 56%, although it isn't horrible, is (a) not very impressive, and (b) only slightly above the NCAA average of 54%.
  • The University of Miami, despite the "thug" image they cultivated throughout the 80's and early 90's, posted a decent 65% graduation rate, placing 6th in the "Top 25." The other Big East team in the Top 25, Syracuse, shaded Tech by 3 percentage points.
  • Football factories like Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, and in particular Ohio State, ought to be ashamed of themselves. These are schools that get the pick of the litter in terms of football players, and yet graduation rates of 40%-44% are all they can manage. They ought to take a cue from Penn State and Notre Dame, who use their considerable recruiting appeal to snag smart players and then make sure that they graduate (80% and 77%, respectively). I can understand mediocre graduation rates being posted by schools like Tech and Kansas State, who are trying to walk a fine line between the academic and athletic quality of their recruits as they build their programs, but the powerhouses ought to be able to pick and choose.

I realize I'm shooting from the hip here. There are many other factors that enter into the equation, such as how hard it is to stay in a certain school. The old saying about Tech is that it's "easy to get in, hard to stay in." And who knows whether or not PSU and N(bc)D are padding their graduation rates with the so-called "gentleman's C"?

But it's fun to throw out numbers like this and then fire off poorly thought-out comments. I'm practicing to be just like Lee Corso some day, and they tell me that if I sit on my brain and talk without thinking, I'm already 90% of the way there.

The bottom line is, you look for that number, regardless of what it is, to go up. I think that when this survey was released last year, Tech did very well, landing in something like the #6 spot, so it's a disappointment to see us in the middle of the pack this year. Of particular interest to me are the graduation rates of the classes from 1993 onward, when the Hokies started their current successful run on the field. I can't wait to see what the classroom results are for these last four years. We'll start hearing those six-year figures beginning in 1999.

The Football TV Schedule at This Point

Here's what we know about Hokie football games on TV so far:

  • Rutgers (8/30) will be on ESPN at 12:30
  • Syracuse (9/13) will be on ESPN at 6:00 (night game!)
  • West Virginia (10/25) will be on CBS (not sure of the time)
  • Virginia (11/29) will be on ESPN (time is still TBD)

Of course, you've got to figure that the Miami game will be on somewhere. CBS is biding its time about selecting that one, but you can guarantee that if they don't pick it up, ESPN will (whereupon they'll promptly ignore it as they cram the latest ACC and Big 10 games down your throat all week long).

To say that I'm looking forward to the Syracuse game would be a huge understatement. There's nothing like a night game in Lane Stadium, and the Hokies are going to need all the help they can get against a Syracuse team that will already have three games under its belt. It should rock Worsham Field down to its roots, because if nothing else, we owe them, big-time.

As the season approaches, I'm going to revamp the HokieCentral football page, and I'll include whether or not the games will be on TV as part of the schedule. For now, clip this and save it.


TSL News and Notes Archives

TSL Home