Looking at Georgia Tech, Georgia graduation rates

Georgia Tech ranks last among ACC schools in graduation rates for football and men’s basketball programs, according to figures released Tuesday by the NCAA.

Georgia ranks near the middle of the SEC in those sports.

The latest version of the NCAA’s annual Graduation Success Rate (GSR) study covers athletes who initially enrolled from 2001 through 2004. The NCAA said athletes who leave school with eligibility remaining, such as for the NFL or NBA draft, do not count against a team’s GSR if they depart in good academic standing.

According to the NCAA figures, Tech posted a graduation rate of 55 percent for football, 27 percent for men’s basketball and 77 percent for all men’s and women’s sports combined. The Yellow Jackets’ all-sports rate was 11th in the ACC.

However, Tech’s numbers showed generally positive momentum. Compared with last year’s NCAA report, which covered athletes who initially enrolled from 2000 through 2003, Tech’s football GSR was up from 49 percent and its all-sports rate up from 75 percent, while men’s basketball dropped from 36 percent.

“While our overall GSR report is very encouraging, we continue to closely monitor our football and men’s basketball results, which generally have more outside influences that affect the percentages when using this particular matrix,” Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement Tuesday. “Those sports tend to have student-athletes that leave the programs early for various reasons, most often to pursue professional sports opportunities.

“A more intuitive measure is the APR, Academic Progress Rate, which, when released [next] spring, will show that our student-athletes in football and men’s basketball are staying eligible and progressing toward a degree at a very positive rate.”

Georgia posted a graduation rate in Tuesday’s report of 65 percent for football, ranking fifth in the SEC, and 43 percent for men’s basketball, seventh in the SEC. The Bulldogs’ all-sports rate of 79 percent tied for fourth in the SEC.

Georgia’s football GSR was down from 68 percent in last year’s study, while the men’s basketball rate improved from 36 percent and the all-sports rate from 77 percent.

“The key thing is, are the numbers on an upward path?” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “I think you are seeing that in the majority of our sports.”

McGarity acknowledged “a small dip” in football from last year, but noted that the football team’s GSR has jumped from 48 percent four years ago.

Nationally, the NCAA reported that 82 percent of the student-athletes who entered college in 2004 and 80 percent of those who entered from 2001 through 2004 graduated within six years. NCAA President Mark Emmert celebrated those record levels as proof “academic reform is working.”

The lowest graduation rates nationally, though, remain in football — 67 percent at the FBS (formerly Division I-A) level — and men’s basketball, 66 percent.

Here are the GSR rates for ACC and SEC programs:

ACC football: Boston College 93, Duke 93, Miami 88, Wake Forest 81, Virginia Tech 79, North Carolina 75, Virginia 68, Clemson 62, Maryland 59, Florida State 56, N.C. State 56, Georgia Tech 55

ACC men's basketball: Duke 100, Wake Forest 100, Boston College 89, North Carolina 89, Virginia Tech 86, Miami 82, N.C. State 80, Clemson 67, Florida State 67, Virginia 50, Maryland 46, Georgia Tech 27

ACC all sports (men's and women's): Duke 97, Boston College 97, Wake Forest 94, Virginia Tech 91, Miami 89, North Carolina 88, Virginia 87, Clemson 82, Maryland 82, Florida State 79, Georgia Tech 77, N.C. State 74

SEC football: Vanderbilt 86, LSU 77, Florida 76, Alabama 69, Georgia 65, Auburn 63, Mississippi State 62, Kentucky 61, Tennessee 61, Arkansas 56, Mississippi 54, South Carolina 39

SEC men's basketball: Vanderbilt 93, LSU 71, Mississippi 71, Kentucky 69, Alabama 67, South Carolina 57, Georgia 43, Tennessee 40, Florida 38, Auburn 29, Mississippi State 27, Arkansas 25

SEC all sports (men's and women's): Vanderbilt 92, Florida 83, Alabama 82, Georgia 79, Mississippi State 79, LSU 78, Kentucky 77, Auburn 76, Tennessee 76, Arkansas 73, South Carolina 73, Mississippi 72

-- Staff writer Ken Sugiura contributed to this article.