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W&M athletes outsmart the competition

  • Best and brightest
    Best and brightest  The W&M men's gymnastics team not only was one of five Tribe teams with the top score in the nation for graduation rate, it won a record seventh National Academic Team title last July.  Photo courtesy Tribe Athletics
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Of William & Mary’s 19 athletic teams, 16 showed a 90 percent or higher graduation rate in the latest audit performed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The results of the audit measured the graduation success rate (GSR) for the 2008 cohort and were released earlier this month by the NCAA.

Overall, the department had a GSR of 92 percent, with 15 of the 19 programs ranking well above the national average of 75 percent. Additionally, five Tribe programs were tied for the top score in the nation: men’s and women’s gymnastics, volleyball, women’s golf and men’s tennis.

"Though not a surprise, this is another welcome indication that William & Mary’s athletes are, in fact, students,” said President Taylor Reveley.  “We provide a model for the country on how to do athletics right – both on the court and field of play and in the classroom. Success in all areas is the norm here, not the exception.”

Football and men’s basketball were double-digit percentage points above the national average for their respective sports. The men's basketball team's rating of 92 percent towered over the national figure.

The NCAA developed the GSR just over a decade ago to more accurately assess long-term student-athlete academic success. The GSR differs from the federally-mandated graduation rate methodology in that it counts transfers into and out of an institution. Data show the GSR includes 36 percent more student-athletes than the federal graduation rate. The NCAA continues to provide the federal rate, though, since there is no comparable rate to the GSR for the general student body.

The Tribe’s Federal Graduation Rate of 85 percent is the nation’s top figure among public institutions and ranks it 14th nationally among all schools.  The next closest public school to the Tribe in the rankings is Michigan, at 80 percent.

Additionally, last spring, 123 of the 500 members of Tribe varsity teams earned Provost Awards, which means they achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 or greater. The entire athletic department turned in a cumulative GPA of 3.06, with 17 of the 23 sports logging GPAs higher than 3.0.

Men’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s tennis won Colonial Athletic Association championships ast year.  W&M now holds a conference-record 123 titles.