Duke Posts High Athlete Grad. Rates, Mixed Findings For UNC

Duke University athletes post high graduation rates, while graduation rates for UNC athletes were mediocre, according to a new report from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The report looks at six and four-year graduation rates for NCAA Division 1 colleges.

Duke University ranked second, behind only Northwestern University, in the percentage of scholarships athletes who earned their degrees within six years. Of the 184 male athletes who enrolled at Duke from 1990-91 to 1993-94, 90 percent graduated within six years. Of the 69 female athletes entering during that time period, 93 percent graduated, making the overall graduation rate for Duke athletes 91 percent.

Duke University football players posted the highest graduation rates of all Division 1 schools. Overall, 91 percent graduated from Duke within six years. The rate was only slightly lower for black players (87 percent) than for white players (95 percent). Also, Duke ranked eighth out of 10 institutions that graduated more than 80 percent of black male athletes. Of the 46 black male athletes who enrolled at Duke from 1990-91 to 1993-94, 85 percent graduated within six years. The four-year graduation rate for Duke athletes was only slightly lower (89 percent).

UNC schools, meanwhile, ranked neither among those Division 1 schools with the highest or lowest graduation rates. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill posted the highest four-year graduation rate (78 percent) among UNC-system schools while North Carolina A&T University posted the lowest (45 percent). Sixty-two percent of male basketball players at UNC-Chapel Hill who entered college in 1993-94 graduated within four years. However, the four-year graduation rate of black basketball players at UNC-CH lags behind the graduation rate for white players (44 percent vs. 66 percent). Meanwhile, only 22 percent of all male basketball players at North Carolina A&T University graduate within four years. Overall, 58 percent of football players who entered UNC-CH from 1990-91 to 1993-94 graduated within four years. The percentage was lower among black players (45 percent) than among white players (66 percent).

The findings from UNC tend to reflet the trend nationwide. While overall graduation rates for athletes held steady from last year’s report, male basketball and football players continue to have trouble in the classroom. Forty-two percent of Division 1 basketball players and 48 percent of Division 1 football players who started college in 1993-94 earned their degrees within six years. By comparison, 54 percent of male students an 51 percent of all male athletes graduated within the same time period. Male basketball players posted the lowest graduation rates. Only 34 percent of black male basketball players earned their degrees, compared with 56 percent of white players. Only seven colleges graduated all of the black players who enrolled from 1990-91 to 1993-94, while 47 institutions, including schools like the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, failed to graduate a single black player who entered school during the same time period.

Female and international athletes tend to post higher graduation rates than their non-athletic counterparts. Of the 1993-94 entering class, 68 percent of female athletes graduated compared with 59 percent of all female students. A full 91 percent of non-resident alien athletes on scholarship at NCAA schools graduated. Half of the 820 Hispanic athletes at Division 1 institutions graduated within six years, compared with just 38 percent of Hispanic students. Asians were the only ethnic group to post a lower percentage of athlete than student graduates. Only 64 percent of Asian athletes graduated while 66 percent of all Asian students did.

For more information on the NCAA report or to view graduation rates for all UNC-system schools, go to chronicle.com/stats/ncaa.