NCAA says NSU student-athletes graduating at historically high rate

Graduates - forkem

Nearly four out of five Northwestern State student-athletes are graduating, a historic rate presented this week as the NCAA announced its 2017-18 Graduation Success Rate study results.

Since the NCAA created the GSR 14 years ago, NSU’s current 78 percent rate is the best in school history, an increase of four percent over last year.

This year’s departmental GSR is over seven percent better than NSU Athletics’ average since 2004-05, said faculty athletics representative Jody Biscoe.

Three of NSU’s 14 sports – Lady Demon softball, tennis and volleyball – had perfect 100 percent scores. Men’s basketball, Lady Demon track and field and women’s soccer all scored higher than the 70.7 percent national mean, said Biscoe.

Softball, tennis and volleyball were tied for first among the 13 NCAA Division I programs in Louisiana as well as in the 13-member Southland Conference. Lady Demon track and field was second in the state and conference with a 92 percent GSR, while Demon basketball’s 81 percent GSR was tied for third in the Southland.

“It is always good to be trending in an upward direction and the fact that the already solid foundation of our department’s academic profile continues to reach new heights, as is evidenced by the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report, is outstanding news,” said Director of Athletics Greg Burke.

“Kudos first and foremost to our student-athletes for balancing the challenging schedule of Division I athletics with their studies and achieving what we articulate, during the recruiting process, is the ultimate and most important goal during their time at NSU.

“Our coaches also deserve credit for recruiting young people who can succeed academically and for encouraging them along their path. We are blessed to have, past and present, dedicated academic staff members who provide guidance and encouragement to our young people. Finally, the support of the NSU administration and faculty – especially Faculty Athletics Representative Jody Biscoe – plays an important role in another academic success story,” said Burke.

Burke cited the residual impact of the NCAA Accelerating Academic Support Program (AASP) grant, which provided additional funding for academic support from 2014-17, as playing an important role in NSU’s academic success.

Biscoe, who is the Dr. Franciso A. Silva Endowed Professorship recipient as associate professor of psychology and addition studies, echoed Burke’s sentiments.

“This success would not have been possible without the character and drive of the student-athletes, the willingness of coaches to recruit quality individuals to their sports both in the classroom and on the field/floor of competition, academic support within the athletic academic area, throughout academic departments at the University, and faculty who establish high expectations for all students,” he said. “This is evidence that academics and the student-life experience in Demonland is the foundation for a great career.”