University of Kentucky athletes set a school record for graduation rate and tied another record in the annual report issued Thursday by the NCAA.
Kentucky's Graduation Success Rate of 79 percent tied the school record set last year. The GSR is a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2003-04 through 2006-07.
The GSR includes all scholarship athletes. Athletes who transfer in good standing do not count against the school's GSR. Schools also are allowed to count incoming transfers who subsequently graduate.
Kentucky's Federal Graduation Rate was a school-record 59 percent. The FGR is a also a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2003-04 through 2006-07.
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In the FGR, athletes who transfer count as non-graduates, regardless of their academic standing or subsequent graduation from another institution. Incoming transfer students, from junior college or four-year schools, who graduate at UK are not counted as graduates.
"Our student-athletes continue to raise their level of academic achievement," Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a news release. "Most young people will not have the opportunity to play professionally and graduation is a cornerstone of their future success."
Nationally, 82 percent of athletes in the 2006-07 freshman class earned a diploma, matching a one-year record. Graduation rates over the four-year span, hit 81 percent, also a 1 percentage point increase and another record.
Players in the Football Bowl Subdivision topped last year's record-high of 70 percent by hitting 71 percent. UK's football team posted a 62 GSR. Louisville's rating was a 67.
Alabama, which has won the last two BCS titles and is ranked No. 1 this season, finished at 73 percent. Notre Dame, which lost in January's BCS title game, had a grad rate of 94 percent.
There were similar trends in basketball.
From last season's men's Final Four, runner-up Michigan and surprising Wichita State came in at 75 percent, both ahead of the four-year average in their sport (70). National champion Louisville was third at 70 percent, and only Syracuse (45) fell below the national average.
UK's men's basketball team beat them all with a GSR of 82.
Three of the four women's Final Four teams also topped the sport's four-year average (85). Notre Dame came in at 100 percent with Connecticut and Louisville both at 92. California's grad rate was 75 percent.
Kentucky's women's basketball GSR was 100 percent.
Louisville's overall GSR was 81 and its FGR 59.
NCAA officials believe that academic reforms implemented over the past two decades have made an impact.
"We're achieving great success through the academic performance program, and our student-athletes, coaches and administrators are working together," said Walter Harrison, president at the University of Hartford and chairman and of the NCAA's committee on academic performance. "They understand the program, and there are more student-athletes graduating."