Nov. 26, 2012
The Vanderbilt football team, in the midst of its finest season in decades, also ranks among the nation's elite in another crucial category -- graduation rates for its student-athletes.
On Monday, the American Football Coaches' Association (AFCA) announced that James Franklin's Commodores were among 16 NCAA Division I teams to achieve a 90-percent graduation rate.
Vanderbilt ranks among the Division I leaders on an annual basis in the AFCA competition. The Commodores have won or shared AFCA Academic Achievement Award honors in 1996, 2001 and 2008. Only four other schools have captured the award more frequently than the Commodores.
The Commodores were one of three Southeastern Conference teams to achieve a graduation rate of 90 percent.
This year's award marks the fifth time the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA. Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA's Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.
The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees.
Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution's GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.