Boston College tied with Northwestern University for third in the nation for overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR), according to data released by the NCAA last week. The school received a 97 percent overall score for its 29 men’s and women’s varsity sports.
“[The GSR] is absolutely essential,” said Brad Bates, director of athletics. “If your primary purpose is to maximize the development of students, a major part of that is that, if you have graduated from Boston College, then you have intellectually maximized your development.”
The NCAA established the GSR as part of its academic reform initiative to assess and improve the academic performance and success of student-athletes. The GSR records the percentage of student-athletes that graduate at any one institution. It takes into account both transfer students and mid-year enrollees. BC’s score was bested by only Notre Dame, at 99, and Duke, at 98.
“[Graduating] is prestigious because it’s rigorous,” Bates said. “Not everyone could do that. It certainly prepares people to go out in the world and make it a better place.”
The football team’s score of 94 was the highest in the ACC and third in the nation, as well as one of only nine Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs to receive 90 or higher.
Of BC’s 29 varsity teams, 17 received a GSR score of 100, indicating a 100 percent graduation rate among athletes. Those teams were men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s skiing, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s basketball, women’s rowing, women’s field hockey, women’s ice hockey, women’s softball, women’s soccer, women’s tennis, women’s track, and women’s volleyball.
Bates emphasized the importance of the graduation rate, citing BC’s strong academic record.
“Think about this,” Bates said. “Boston College is the 31st ranked school in the country in the U.S. World and News Report. You guys ought to be proud of that. You’re going to graduate with an unbelievable degree. The 31st ranked degree in the country, and of those 31 top-ranked schools, only 14 compete at the highest level of the NCAA. Our student-athletes are competing against some of the brightest minds in the world every day in the classroom, and every week they’re competing against some of the greatest amateur athletes in the world. Of those 14 schools that compete at the highest level, only one offers a Jesuit education. So, while the rest of the world is striving for new knowledge, Boston College is striving for new knowledge, for social justice, and to better the human condition. It’s an unbelievably noble pursuit.”