Campus Connection: Student-athletes nationally graduating at record levels

Todd Finkelmeyer:

More than four out of every five student-athletes who play sports at the NCAA’s highest level now graduate within six years, according to an annual report released this past week by the college sports oversight body.
A formula used by the association indicates a record 82 percent of NCAA Division I student-athletes who entered school in 2004 earned a degree within six years. That figure is three percentage points higher than last year and eight points above the graduation success rates (GSR) first collected by the NCAA with the entering freshman class of 1995.
Of the student-athletes who entered UW-Madison in 2004, the NCAA reports 81 percent graduated within six years. Not all the news at UW-Madison is so rosy, however, but more on that later. (To check out how your favorite school did or to view a sport-by-sport breakdown for each institution, check out this NCAA database.)
“There is a stereotype about college athletes that they’re here to play sports and not to be academically successful, but as you can see from the report the overwhelming majority of student-athletes are getting through school,” says Adam Gamoran, a professor of sociology and educational policy studies who chairs the UW Athletic Board’s academics and compliance committee. “We select great students and only enroll those who we are confident can be academically successful here.”