The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Wednesday, Oct. 27, its Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for student-athletes who first enrolled in school during the 2003 academic year and the University of Southern Mississippi compiled a GSR of 85 percent.
The most recent national GSR data shows that 79 percent of freshmen student-athletes who entered college nationally in 2003 earned their four-year degrees.
The NCAA also released the Department of Education's Federal Graduation Rate data for the 2003-04 class. The Southern Miss athletes outperformed the general student body in the government report, the graduation rate for all students at Southern Miss was at 45 percent and the four-class average for that study was at 45 percent, compared to a 66 percent and 69 percent rate, respectively, for Golden Eagle student-athletes.
“We did very well across the board and once again we were considerably higher than the general student body,” said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini. “It continues to show that our athletes are students first and their earning a degree from Southern Miss is most important and a very high priority. This also serves as verification to the hard work our student-athletes, academic staff and faculty continue to put in each and every semester for our outstanding graduation rates."
The sport of men's tennis led the way for the men's programs with a 100 percent GSR, while baseball was next at 96, following by golf at 86 percent, football at 84 percent, track and field at 81 percent and basketball at 54 percent.
Earlier this month, the men's athletics program recently captured the 2010 David M. Halbrook Award for Academic Achievement among Athletes for having the best graduation rate of any of the eight public universities in the state of Mississippi. It was the seventh consecutive time that they have received this award and eighth overall.
On the women's side, golf, softball and tennis each tallied a GSR of 100 percent, while soccer was at 95 percent, volleyball at 85 percent, cross country/track and field at 78 percent and basketball at 67 percent.
The GSR of overall student-athletes is higher than its sister schools, Ole Miss (80 percent) and Mississippi State (72 percent), as well as nine of 11 Conference USA except for Rice and SMU. In the sport of football, the Golden Eagles’ GSR is higher than that of Mississippi State (64 percent) and Ole Miss (61 percent), as well as every Conference USA institution with the exception of Rice.