Back in the fall, I covered the topic of UCLA's graduation rates for student athletes. At the time, the overall graduation rate was quite good, but the Football program lagged the rest of the sports rather dramatically with a 59% graduation rate.
Well nothing has changed in that respect. The latest set of data released by the NCAA (HT The Bootleg) shows that UCLA is still 9th in the PAC-12 in graduation rates for football, at 59%, besting only Cal and Arizona. The top dogs in the conference are Stanford and Washington, at 87% and 76% respectively. This is based on the Graduation Success Rates, which are "four class" graduation rates, i.e. the combined graduation rates for the four most recent classes for which information has been reported. This analysis covers graduation rates for the classes that reached the end of their six-year graduation windows in the years 2007 through 2010.
|Football Graduation Rates: Pac-12|
You have to admit, given Stanford's recent success on the gridiron, it is still impressive to have that kind of graduation rate.
It seems a bit odd that the other two academic powerhouses in the PAC-12 have such terrible graduation rates in football (Cal's is 54%, one of the worst 10 in the country). What gives?
Follow me after the jump.
You may find it bizarre that UCLA's football graduation rates are so far behind the rest of their sports. UCLA's basketball graduation rate is 75%, and 70% for baseball. Weirdly, Cal's basketball grad rate is horribly bad, at 33%.
Overall, UCLA's student athlete graduation rate is a respectable 83%, second in the PAC-12 behind Stanford and tied with Washington. (side note: Arizona has the worst overall graduation rate...in the country!)
|Grad Rates for All Athletes: Pac-12|
Look, we all know that classes at UCLA are not for the lazy or unmotivated. But why are the graduation rates for football so far behind the other sports? Here are some possible reasons:
A. UCLA Football players can't keep up in the classroom and flunk out
B. UCLA is recruiting the wrong type of student athletes who are not prepared for the rigors of a college curriculum
C. The Athletic Department does not provide enough resources to help football players succeed in the classroom
D. UCLA does not offer enough majors that are less stringent and "athlete-friendly"
E. A lot of UCLA football players get drafted to the NFL and don't come back to graduate
F. Spaulding Field emanates noxious gases that cause impairments in brain activity
If you pick E, clearly you're not paying attention (UCLA had 0 players drafted this year). And I am kidding about F...sort of.
In all seriousness, I think it is a combination of things, but at the very top of the list and way ahead of other reasons, I pick C. With our admissions already being one of the most stringent in the conference, I am pretty sure that most of the football players are prepared enough. But given the historical lack of support for the football program, I am inclined to blame it on the lack of support, i.e. tutors, study areas, etc. Rick Neuheisel pointed to the need for less stringent majors, but I think in the end, improved support would do the trick.