Athletes score higher graduation rates

Student athletes are graduating at higher rates than the average college students.

According to the NCAA Official 2002 Division 1 Graduation: Rates Report, first-time / full-time student athletes who enrolled at FAMU in the 1995-1996 school year had a 53 percent graduation rate, while only 45 percent of the general student body graduated within the allocated six-year time period.

On the other hand, only 36 percent of student athletes graduated within four years, compared to the 44 percent of the student body as a whole.

Due to the extra activities student athletes have, they are not expected to graduate in four years.

Senior Frank Scott, from Orlando is a shortstop on FAMU’s baseball team. Scott joined the team in fall 2001 after transferring from South Florida Community College.

“Everybody is still here, even if they are not graduating on time they haven’t dropped out,” said Scott.

“During the season, we’ll miss class three days a week at a time, play our games and then try to play catch up on all the school work we missed,” Scott explained.

“The NCAA bases student athlete graduation rates on six years,” said Joseph Durant, FAMU’s head baseball coach. Responding to the question of whether athletes have it easier Durant chuckled, “Easier? If anything, they have it harder.”

Richard Brand, professor of Advertising and Promotions, said he’s willing to rearrange test dates around scheduled sport events.

“I prefer to give exams earlier rather than late, but athletes will be held accountable for all work, to be fair to the rest of the students,” Brand said.

Courtney Vinson, a senior public relations student from Uniondale, N.Y., is on Famu’s track team.

“Since I’ve been at FAMU,” Vinson said, “I’ve been on the basketball and track teams. I’ve never had even half the time my peers have to study, yet we’re all graded equally.”

In the end, college is about education, experience and graduating.

Athletes, even with the added stress of balancing school and sport, have proven with rising graduation rates that they are receiving their education and definitely graduating.