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Racial Gaps in Bowl Teams’ Academic Performance


The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida reports that large racial gaps remain in the academic performance of football players who will appear in bowl games this year. Among the findings on 67 teams (with one still to be determined):

  • 57 colleges (up from 56 in 2008‐9) or 85 percent had graduation success rates of 66 percent or higher for white football players, which was more than 2.8 times the number of colleges with equivalent rates for African‐American football athletes.
  • 21 colleges (up from 19 in 2008‐9) or 31 percent graduated less than 50 percent of their African‐American football athletes, while only two colleges graduated less than 50 percent of their white players.
  • Seven colleges (up from five in 2008‐9) or 10 percent graduated less than 40 percent of their African‐American football student‐athletes, while no college graduated less than 40 percent of their white football players.
  • 14 schools (up from 12 schools in 2008‐09) or 21 percent had graduation success rates for African‐American football student‐athletes that were at least 30 percent lower than their rates for white football student‐athletes.
  • 35 schools (up from 29 schools in 2008‐09) or 52 percent had graduation success rates for African‐American football student‐athletes that were at least 20 percent lower than their rates for white football student‐athletes.

Four schools had graduation success rates for African‐American football student‐athletes that exceeded their rates for white football student‐athletes: Connecticut (five percent higher), Troy (seven percent higher), Southern Miss (eight percent higher), and Rutgers (four percent higher). That was down from five schools in the 2008‐09 study.

Only Texas Tech and Troy had overall graduation success rates for football players that were better than the overall student‐athletes’ GSR. Only Cincinnati and Connecticut had equivalent graduation success rates between the football players and overall student‐athletes.

TIDES Director Richard Lapchick highlighted that, “If there were a national championship based on graduation success rates among bowl teams, Navy and Northwestern would have played for the National Championship. Both teams graduated at least 92 percent of all football student‐athletes and at least 83 percent of African‐American football student‐athletes. If there were a national championship based on APR [NCAA's Academic Progress Rate] scores, Stanford and Air Force would battle each other with APR scores of 984 and 983, respectively.”

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