USC Campus Trojan Statue. Photo by John Schreiber.
USC Campus Trojan Statue. Photo by John Schreiber.

USC’s athletes had a school-record 81 percent Graduation Success Rate, while UCLA’s was 86 percent, one percentage point behind its high, according to the latest figures released by the NCAA.

UCLA had an 87 percent Graduation Success Rates in the reports released in 2013 and 2014. USC had 80 percent and 77 percent Graduation Success Rates in those years’ reports.

The USC record and UCLA near-record Graduation Success Rates mirror the national trend. The Graduation Success Rate for Division I athletes was a record 86 percent, two percentage points higher than last year.

The NCAA’s newly released figures cover athletes on athletic scholarships who entered college as freshmen or transfer students in the 2005- 2006 through 2008-2009 classes.

USC’s school-record Graduation Success Rate stems in part from improvement by its men’s basketball team, whose most recent rate was 82 percent, an increase of 15 percentage points from the previous year.

The Trojans tied for fifth with Stanford in the Pac-12 Conference. Arizona State and Utah tied for first at 90 percent.

The UCLA men’s basketball Graduation Success Rate was 50 percent, tying Oregon for 11th in the conference. The UCLA men’s basketball Graduation Success Rate in the 2014 report was 60 percent.

The USC football Graduation Success Rate was 58 percent, 11th in the conference, ahead of only California, which had a 52 percent Graduation Success Rate.

USC’s football Graduation Success Rate “is a victim of our on-field success back then,” according to Magdi El-Shahawy, USC’s senior associate athletic director in charge of student-athlete academic services.

“Of the 71 players in the 2005 to 2008 football cohort, 41 of them graduated in the six-year GSR window,” El-Shahawy said. “Of those who didn’t, 22 competed in the NFL.

“Ten left USC within one semester of graduating and four came back to USC after the six-year window to get their degrees. Next year, when the 2005 figure will no longer be part of the calculation, our football GSR will rise significantly.”

USC is “committed to having all student-athletes graduate,” El-Shahawy said.

“We are in touch with many former student-athletes who haven’t received their degrees to encourage them to return to USC’s classrooms after their pro careers are completed,” El-Shahawy said.

UCLA’s football Graduation Success Rate was 88 percent, second in the conference behind Stanford’s 99 percent.

There were five UCLA teams with 100 percent Graduation Success Rates — women’s basketball, golf, softball, tennis and men’s water polo — while five others had at least a 90 percent rate — women’s water polo and track and field (both 93 percent), women’s swimming and diving (92 percent), women’s rowing (91 percent) and men’s volleyball (90 percent).

The USC women’s basketball and golf teams both had 100 percent Graduation Success Rates. Five others had at least a 90 percent rate — women’s water polo (96 percent), women’s soccer (95 percent), women’s rowing (94 percent), women’s volleyball (91 percent) and baseball (91 percent).

—City News Service

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