NCAA Athlete Graduation Rates: Less Than Meets the Eye

Eckard, F. Woodrow
Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 24, Issue 1: p. 45-59.

The standard evaluations of NCAA student-athlete graduation rates involve comparisons with rates for the general student body. The latter rates as actually calculated, however, include a significant number of part-time students at many schools. This is problematic because athletes must be full-time, and should be compared to other full-time students. The downward “part-timer bias” in the student body rate distorts the comparison, making the relative graduation rates for athletes appear more favorable. Example calculations demonstrate that relative rates for major college football and men’s basketball players are substantially worse when the bias is removed.