Racial Gap Persists in Football Bowl Teams' Graduation Rates

Racial Gap Persists in Football Bowl Teams’ Graduation Rates

Notre Dame would play Northwestern in the national championship game if the teams were selected based on graduation rates. (Photo: Mike Binette)

College football bowl teams continue to graduate African-American players at a much lower rate than white players.

A report released Monday by Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, shows that the gap between the graduation rates for African-American and white players remains 20 percentage points.

Using the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate measurement, the average rate for African-American student-athletes increased from 60 to 61 percent, while the average rate for white student-athletes increased from 80 to 81 percent.

The percentages in the UCF report are based on six-year graduation rates for the freshman classes that enrolled from 2001 through 2004. Last year’s report was based on data for the 2000 through 2003 classes.

If the national championship teams were selected based on graduation rates, Notre Dame would play Northwestern this season. Both teams graduated at least 94 percent of their football student-athletes and at least 92 percent of their African-American football student-athletes.

Alabama and LSU, the teams that will play for the national title, graduated 69 and 77 percent of their football student-athletes respectively.