Georgia graduation rate top among SEC football teams

semerson@macon.comOctober 24, 2013 

ATHENS - The Georgia football team may not get back to Atlanta this year, but it does lead the SEC in one category.

Mark Richt's team has an official graduation rate of 82 percent, tied with Vanderbilt for the best in the SEC. That's according to the NCAA's official measurement, called Graduation Success Rate, which has been in effect since 2005.

In addition, the freshman who joined the Georgia football team in 2006 had the best graduation rate in the SEC, at 79 percent.

Nationally, the average football team GSR was 71 percent. Georgia's graduation rate did not rank among the top 10 nationally among BCS schools.

There was also good news for the men's basketball team, which jumped from 50 percent last year to 63 percent this year.

The GSR measures how many players graduate over a six-year period, and includes transfers and players who leave early for the pros. This year's score tracks the freshman classes of 2003-2006.

Overall, Georgia athletes had an 83 percent graduation rate of this period, which ranks fourth among SEC schools. Four Georgia teams - women's basketball, gymnastics, softball and women's tennis - scored a perfect 100 perfect.

The baseball team has this year's lowest rate, at just 59 percent. Men's tennis and men's basketball are tied for the second-worst.

However, men's basketball has mostly been on an upward trend: 19 percent in 2007, to 36 percent in 2011, and 50 percent last year.

The football team also had a poor rate (41 percent) in 2007, and has ticked upward all but one year. “It’s gratifying to see our overall rate continue to improve and that some sports made significant jumps in their scores,” Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said. “We’re also pleased to rank at or near the top in both overall and several individual sports among our SEC peer institutions. The report is encouraging and while there’s always room for continued improvement, credit is due to our coaches and academic support staff for their diligence in both the academic emphasis and overall well-being of our student-athletes.”

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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