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.

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  • Dwatts29

    Good old Teddy (Tedford) is underachieving on the field and with graduation rates. It’s time for a change.

  • Cre8tivguy

    This is a dumb article.  Why wasn’t Sandy Barbour or Tedford or Montgomery or a student-athlete interviewed to give some context to these numbers? Athletes must maintain a certain G.P.A. to compete, so what other factors are involved that are causing them to not graduate? Transfers? Going pro?   Could the writer do a little research before releasing this article?  No university can guarantee you’ll graduate, and student-athletes are given WAY more tools to succeed than your average student. It’s up to the student to earn that degree.  All this article tells me is that CAL has high standards and is a tough school to graduate and Stanford is easy.   

  • Education not entertainment

    So we waste 6% of enrollment spots, give them full scholarships, and give them  6 years…?  Funny how the Berkeley Young Republican do not complain on this form of affirmative action. In that case as a “public” university we should be using those spots for class base affirmative action…. Pac-12 or not, we are a a public research university with the goal of being representative of  the State of California.. and last time I checked California did not have 46% of the population making $100k or more, a 3% Black population, nor a 11% Latino population…. 

  • Davon1

    fucking gdis stop insulting the football players

  • Cal faculty member

    These people don’t belong at Cal, and displace academically qualified students.  The sports entertainment complex at Cal is an embarrassment and steals money from the core academic mission of the university.

    • Guestabc

      How many students are we talking about?  Between the Football and Basketball program, maybe what, 50-75 underachieving students?  With tens of thousands of students at Cal, this is hardly statistically significant.

      I’m guessing you’re not a faculty member in the Sciences or Math departments.

      • Guest

        It’s still an embarrassment.

  • Guest

    Tedford’s program has embarrassed the University, both on the field and in the classroom and it is time for him to go. For $2.4 million per year, we can do much better.

    • Guestabc

      Yet he still generates positive earnings – with the UC budgets as they are, that’s not half-bad right now.

      • Chui

        Does he really generate positive earnings? Or is it the football program in general? His time is up. 

  • Guest

    Who really cares?  Student athletes are recruited for their athletic abilities.  If they decide to take advantage of the opportunity given to attend Berkeley, study hard, and earn a degree, that is wonderful and I salute them.  If they decide to blow off class and don’t graduate, that’s their choice and I’m not going to criticize it.

  • Calgrad88

    This is what happens when you let in idiots like Desean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch.  They wouldn’t have even been able to graduate from ASU.  At the end of the day, winning football games is the priority and Tedford has done a pretty good job of doing that.

    • Adlgroup1

      Those “idiots” have more money than you and your whole family can earn in 100 years.  But you know what you’re talking about.  How much is YOUR degree worth?  How much will you earn with your degree in the next 100 years?  Those two have already earned (whatever your answer is) from their signing bonus!

  • Dietrich Von Bacon

    Congratulations to Cal basketball for improving three years running!

  • Anon

    Whats the difference between the baseball team and the football/basketball teams?

    Does anybody else see the 400lbs gorilla in the room or am I crazy?

    • That’s Racist.gif

      Wow haha…paging all sociology majors

    • Make It Stop!

      Anon, everyone is not cut out for academic glory.  Cal has more NFL alum than 97% of all D1 college football playing schools.  Most millionaires that attended Cal ARE athletes…football and basketball, not mathmeticians or Engineers.  Graduating is cool, but if the professional athlete takes care of their money, they will never have to use that sociolgy, indepdentent studies, or whatever Cal degree they might have the time to pursue.

      I hope you get all “A’s” and learn about life. 

      • Anon

         80% of NFL players are broke within two years of leaving the league, the number for the NBA is around 65% and increases to over 90% within 5 years.

        Wealth is primarily mindset. These “student” athletes should have taken a couple econ courses. Additionally, becoming a millionaire is not very difficult for a working professional earning over 6 figures. Yes, Cal athletes who go pro will earn a ton of money very quickly, but as little at 10 years down the line, those nerdy engineers will be doing significantly better.

    • Dan

      No i don”t see it, what exactly are you saying?

  • Realist

    Would love for us to get over the Stanford obsession and clean our own house. these numbers are disgraceful and it would be nice for the reporter to get the “explanation” from our athletic department..

  • Guest

    Fire Barbour/Birgeneau.

    Outrageous for what is supposed to be the best public university in the world to stoop so low. 

  • Guest

    It’s pointless to say that the team is “UC Berkeley” when the people playing on the team aren’t really students at the actual institution they supposedly represent. It’s kind of like those countries who buy athletes from other countries for the olympics. Admit people based on academics (that’s why it’s called “school”) and then if they want to play sports, great! Admittedly this will screw all of the “good” institutions in the nation since scientists and engineers are generally not known to be great footballing knuckleheads…

    • Current student

       Nice sentiment, but who is going to pay off the hundreds of millions of dollars of bonds that have been sold to fund stadium expansion if we crash the football program in the name of idealism.

      Is your daddy going to fork over that cash ?

  • ArjunChopra92

    Hi , my name is Arjun Chopra and I have a 2 inch penis !!!

  • Kevin Riley’s blown knee

    I don’t care if they fail out of school and make the graduation rate look bad as long as they BEAT STANFORD


    • Guest

      I don’t care if they beat Stanford or not (it’s always a tossup anyway), as long as they have equivalent or higher academic standards.

      We lose on the field plenty.  Might as well at least recruit nerds and win in the academics area (m0re important anyway) for certain.


    This is bound to happen when you have:
    1) A tough school academically
    2) Very Good Sports that recruit Athletes (not Students) 
    3) Don’t hand out free As like Stanford

    • Guesta

      that is a valid point, stanfurd has been  getting away with running a dirty program that nobody outside the bay knows about

    • anon

       LOL say what you want about Stanford, but at least our football players sound literate when they give press conferences.. Please do compare Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart (both engineering majors and Heisman candidates) with DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. Even our “idiots” aren’t that dumb..

      • Marc Ballon

        I’m a Cal guy, and I have to say you’re 100 percent on target. No reason Cal can’t compete with Stanford as fiercely in the classroom as on the field. Congrats to Stanford for doing it right. Shame on Cal for prostituting itself in its failed pursuit of gridiron glory.

  • Guest37

    Cal’s average was brought down by its most recent class, which had an grad rate of 31 percent. “an grad rate?”, really? When talking about academic success, shouldn’t you do a better job editing the article?

  • Guestabc

    Who expects them to graduate?  They’re recruited to perform and bring revenue to the program.  It’s the elephant in the room.

    • Tellit

      Of course Athletes gets a special Affirmative Action rarely if ever discussed by the foes of it.  Um Hum…  All of the sudden when it comes to discussing this “group” it turns to a business conversation vs.  the “elephant in the room. And the elephants love to gloss this one.  If only they were consistent, they’d have my support. 

  • willaLavie

    Not good.  Cal is the #1 public institution in the country.  It’s time that the football and men’s basketball program get it together and recruit athletes who are students first.  Of course, some leave early to go “pro” so that should perhaps be taken into account.  However, it would appear that’s not the cause of such dismal numbers.  

    Sandy has done a great job with Cal Athletics and Memorial Stadium etc.  Now is time to get the academics together (had been doing pretty well).

    Go Bears!

    • Tellit

      It’s time for BCR to have bakesale about this type of Affirmative Action…We all know the hypocrites won’t!

      • Make it Stop!

        Is it smarter to earn $20 million in 5 years without a degree or to earn it over 133 years with a degree (making $150,000 per year)?   Remember, 65% of Cal Football Seniors in 2012 signed NFL contracts.  A few got several $ million guaranteed before even playing.

        Academics, important!  Money, more important!  Follow the money.