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Rutgers Athletics sets new mark for student-athlete graduation success rate

Rutgers Athletics Director Pat Hobbs said he views academic success at Rutgers University as a high priority. – Photo by Pat Hobbs / Twitter

This season, Rutgers Athletics set a new school record with a 90 percent graduation success rate (GSR) among various programs. The GSR, which was released this Tuesday in a report issued annually by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), matched or exceeded the Scarlet Knights' GSR from last year. 

"Academic success at Rutgers University is of the highest priority, and is a source of pride for our student-athletes, alumni, faculty and administration," said Athletics Director Pat Hobbs. "Our student-athletes are committed to succeeding both in their sport and in the classroom. We are thankful for the support from the faculty, academic advisors and our coaching staffs, who are committed to guiding them to reach academic milestones."

The NCAA calculates yearly GSR standings by measuring graduation rate averages of students who entered college up to 10 years ago. Alongside traditional four-year students, transfer students, mid-year enrollees and non-scholarship students (in specific cases) are all included in this sample.

Measuring this way provides the NCAA with a full view of the structure of its athletic programs, and allows the administration to have an accurate look at how student-athletes perform in the classroom, according to the official NCAA website.

Nationwide, 9 out of 10 students who began college in 2013 ended with degrees, marking an all-time high and an increase of a full percentage point for students who entered universities since 2012. 

"The commitment of Division I college athletes to the classroom is incredible, and we celebrate their academic success," said NCAA President Mark Emmert. "To see 90 percent of student-athletes accomplish the ultimate goal of college graduation is a testament to their hard work and dedication … The NCAA applauds the achievements of student-athletes and will continue to support their goals in the classroom, in competition and in life." 

Seven Rutgers programs posted perfect graduation rates, while 19 out of 20 programs reported rates more than 80 percent. 

All 20 teams produced a GSR at or more than the federal level, with 10 out of the 12 women's teams posting a rate of 92 percent or more. Women's basketball, golf, field hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics, tennis, swimming and diving all achieved a perfect GSR of 100. Gymnastics has earned a perfect score for every NCAA record to date, over 16 consecutive years. 

In addition, men's lacrosse, baseball and soccer all tied or exceeded previous program rates. Fifteen of the 20 Knights teams either maintained or increased their GSR when compared with last season. 

Another academic record that Rutgers has set this year is the number of student-athletes who earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, with an all-time high of 319 student-athletes of at least sophomore standing earning accolades.

This total included 171 spring recognitions, 48 winter admissions and 100 fall honorees. Among these award recipients were a school-record 126 Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholars with a minimum GPA of 3.70 or above for the 2019-2020 year.

Overall, the Knights athletic programs have earned marks at or more than 85 percent for 11 consecutive years. 

"We are incredibly proud of (the student-athletes') success in the classroom," Hobbs said. "This is a testament to their hard work and dedication off the field. It also demonstrates that academics remains a first priority for our coaches, staff and administration."

For updates on Rutgers athletics, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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