UNC Responds to NCAA Study

On November 30, Clarion Call reported the results of study by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The study found that Duke University athletes post high graduation rates, while graduation rates for UNC athletes were mediocre. But the results for UNC should not be interpreted negatively, says Steve Kirschner, Director of Communications for UNC’s Athletic Department. “Carolina’s graduation rates for student-athletes in 1994-95 nearly mirror the overall rates for the student body,” says Kirschner. He noted that the study “does not make adjustments to reflect cases in which student-athletes transfer or choose to leave school early for personal reasons or to compete as professionals.” Below are Kirschner’s other comments on interpreting results of the NCAA study:

* “Graduation rates for Carolina’s student-athletes compare favorable with national averages – even without adjusted numbers. Nationally, males graduate at a 54 percent rate, compared to 60 percent at UNC. For females the comparable figures are 68 percent nationally and 83 percent at UNC.”

* “The national averages for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball are 48 percent, 42 percent and 63 percent, respectively. The NCAA study reported four-year averages for Carolina at 58 percent for football, 62 percent for men’s basketball and 77 percent for women’s basketball.”

* “More than 95 percent of Tar Heel basketball players who earned letters under Coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge earned degrees. In the past decade, several basketball student-athletes left school before four years to pursue professional careers. Several of them, including high-profile NBA standouts Antawn Jamison and Jerry Stackhouse continued their studies and earned their diplomas. Vince Carter is on track to follow suit later this year.”

* “Carolina’s traditional peers among the ranks of public universities include the universities of Virginia, Michigan, California at Berkeley, UCLA and Texas. Only Virginia had a higher graduation rate for all of its student-athletes in the NCAA study. Carolina football trailed Virginia and UCLA, but led Texas, California and Michigan. Carolina men’s basketball led all six major universities, including three of whom who had rates more than 40 percent below UNC.”

* “Overall, Carolina’s 60 percent rate for all male student-athletes was exceeded by only Virginia. UNC’s female student-athlete rate of 83 percent topped Virginia, California, Texas and UCLA.”

* “UNC has one of the nation’s model student-athlete academic support programs. Each year, representatives from a number of universities visit the John Pope Academic Center and meet with UNC administrators as they begin to develop similar programs.”