Cal football graduation rate falls to 54 percent

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The graduation success rate of Cal football players over a four-year period has dropped 11 points to 54 percent, the second-lowest rate in the Pac-12, according to figures from the NCAA 2011 Graduation Success Rate Report.

The figure ranks Cal 111th among 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Only Arizona, at 48 percent, has a lower overall graduation success rate (GSR) than Cal among Pac-12 schools.

The disparity between the GSR of Cal’s football players and the federal graduation rate of the Cal student body has grown to -36 percent, the largest gap of all FBS schools. Last year, Cal’s 65 percent GSR ranked third in the Pac-12, the team’s highest rate in over a decade. The team’s rate has remained above 50 percent for five consecutive years, after six straight years of rates 50 percent or below.

Cal’s average was brought down by its most recent class, which had a grad rate of 31 percent.

Notre Dame leads all FBS football programs with a 97 percent success rate, while Stanford leads the Pac-12 at 87 percent. Florida International’s 43 percent rate is the country’s lowest.

GSRs were determined in several other sports. The Cal men’s basketball team sports a 33 percent GSR, lowest in the Pac-12 and sixth-lowest among all major basketball programs. The figure has risen for two consecutive years since Cal’s rate hit 20 percent in the 2009 report.

With a disparity of -57 percent, the graduation rate gap between basketball players and students at Cal is the highest of all major programs. Cal has had the lowest or second-lowest graduation rate gap for five consecutive years.

Seven basketball programs — Villanova, Creighton, BYU, Illinois, Wake Forest, Duke and Notre Dame — posted perfect GSRs. Connecticut and Arkansas tied for the lowest rate at 25 percent.

At 86 percent, the Cal baseball team’s rate is second only to Stanford’s 100 percent mark in the Pac-12. Wake Forest, Boston College and Notre Dame all also had perfect marks.

Among all student athletes, Cal’s GSR stands at 79 percent. Stanford’s 94 percent overall rate leads the conference, while Arizona’s 67 percent rate ranks last in both the conference and the country.

GSRs are determined by averaging the percentage of athletes who graduated within six years of starting college over a four year period. The 2011 analysis pertains to athletes who reached the end of their six-year graduation window between 2007 and 2010.