Tech athlete graduation rate ranks best in state

Student-athletes at Tennessee Tech have the highest overall graduation rate among all four-year public universities in the state of Tennessee, according to the most recent Graduation Success Rate figures announced Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.Tech student-athletes also continue to graduate at a higher rate than the general student body at the University.

“This most recent GSR report is good news for Tennessee Tech Athletics, one that we can take a great deal of pride in,” said Mark Wilson, Tech Director of Athletics.

“It verifies in numbers that we are successfully fulfilling our mission of graduating our student-athletes.

Posting a GSR higher than the Tech student body is even more impressive when considering that Tennessee Tech’s student body has a higher graduation rate than every other four-year school in the Tennessee Board of Regents system.

“Taking into account that our general student body is graduating at a higher rate than every other TBR University, it speaks even more to the diligence of our student-athletes,” Wilson said.

The current GSR report, which looked at every four-year institution across the country, includes all incoming students who entered school in 2003 and graduated by 2009.

The GSR for Tech’s student-athletes for the period was 61 percent, while the GSR for the general student body was 54 percent.

The GSR for Golden Eagle student-athletes over a four-year period, including incoming freshmen from 2000 to 2003, is also seven percentage points higher than the general student body at Tech.

Overall, Tech’s student-athlete GSR is 77 percent, to top all eight other public four-year institutions in Tennessee.

The overall GSR is an adjusted figure compiled by the NCAA. It includes student-athletes who transfer into the institution and discounts student-athletes who depart the institution and would have been academically eligible had they returned.

Golden Eagle student-athletes have also fared well in overall GSR when compared with their counterparts around the Ohio Valley Conference.

Seven of Tech’s teams, half of the university’s 14 programs, ranked either first or tied for first in overall GSR among their peers within the league.

All but one of Tech’s 14 teams ranks among the top five in the conference. The overall GSR for Golden Eagle student-athletes ranks third in the OVC.

The latest GSR report reflects several others positive recent trends of Tech’s student-athletes, including the upward growth of the total numbers on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and the record-breaking combined grade point average of Golden Eagle student-athletes.

In the spring semester, Tech’s student-athletes posted the highest combined GPA ever achieved at the University and topped 3.0 for the fifth time in the last six semesters.

The Athletic Director’s Honor Roll total topped 200 in two of the past three semesters, and the past four years have produced six of the seven highest totals in school history.

“These kinds of numbers continue to point out that our student-athletes and our staff continue to take seriously our goal of stressing the importance of academic success,” Wilson said.

“This latest GSR is another gauge in how we’re doing, and it says we’re doing well. Our coaches, our academic support system and personnel, and our student-athletes are doing a good job.”

The history of Tennessee Tech Athletics has typically shown a higher graduation rate for student-athletes than the general student body, and the GSR is a national report that supports that trend.

“If you layer the GSR on top of the statewide graduation rates, we can say that Tennessee Tech is among the leaders in the state for graduating our student-athletes,” Wilson said.

“Tennessee Tech has the highest graduation rate among all TBR schools, and the highest in the state among all FCS schools. For our student-athletes to beat the Tennessee Tech student body means they have achieved a higher graduation rate than every other TBR and Tennessee FCS school.”

Tennessee Tech hosts the 2010 OVC Cross Country Championships Saturday at 9 a.m. at Southern Hills Golf Course. Admission is free.