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35th NACDA Convention
Orlando, Florida
June 11-14, 2000

NCAA Division II Breakout Session
Interactive Session #4 - Graduation Rate Reporting
Monday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.


Phil Roach


How can we praise those people who are doing a good job? As a teaser, in front of you, I have four different things right out of the graduation rate handbook. Let's look at A, B, C and D and you tell me what they tell you about that institution. Any comments? What do we know about institution A in terms of graduation rate? If we look at the top line, they're doing a heck of a job, aren't they? One hundred percent graduation rate for the students and their athletes over a two-year period are at 45 percent when the student body is in the 20s. When we look down, what does that really tell us? One male, one female.

Let's go to B. Institution B, you look at all students, 65, 67 percent and student-athletes, 59 and 57 percent. This would tell us that we want to mirror this institution rate. If we look down at the numbers, we really have a good number of athletes here that we're measuring. It also tells you that it's football dominated. Is that a fair evaluation of this athletics department when really, it's slanted toward one sport? That is something we need to consider.

Let's look at C. This tells you they're not graduating student-athletes. But, it's not true, because the fact of the matter is, they do have intercollegiate programs, they do graduate athletes, they just don't scholarship. How fair is that? The only test is scholarship athletes. We know they're Division II and they have a sports program or they wouldn't be in here. The only way they count is if they're scholarship athletes. They have no counter so it comes out a zero.

Lastly, this is an institution that has a more balanced program and one maybe we'd want to celebrate. All students are graduating at 58 and 61 percent, but the student-athletes are graduating at 74 and 78 percent. What a great opportunity if we could come up with a measuring stick to celebrate what Division II is doing in terms of graduating in light of what we hear about in Division I all the time. There's a good measure.

That is our task and I've tried to give some examples of how what we're doing right now doesn't fit us. The next thing is, what do you think of using the participation list, as that's the way we'll find out whether the athlete's on the team or not? If you have a different thought, what should we use? As you know, right now, we're just using scholarship athletes.

From the Floor

The deal with private schools is its pretty much tuition driven, so there is pressure on the coaches to hold quotas for the programs. Now and then, there may be some kids who don't play a lick. Either they don't stick it out or they don't play and stick it out.

Phil Roach

They would be on your participation list.

From the Floor

Yes, but chances are those kids are there because they can handle it academically and show they graduate.

Phil Roach

What about transfers? Currently transfers are not counted. Is that accurate? Ron Prettyman states that the number of transfer students is a huge deal. How would we track transfers?

From the Panel

This is a similar problem. Our president has a problem with the track of graduation rates because it's established out of the old school. You go there four years, period. There's not too many of those schools left anymore. Kids are coming and going more than ever. For our sake, there should be a period of time when you track them. Do you track them as they come in the first year? Do you allow them to complete a year? Are they on a participation list?

Phil Roach

One of the things that's been brought forward is, let's say Joe Blow goes to Santa Fe Community College and comes in as a junior. When he comes in, you put him in that junior class and track that student-athlete from that point forward. Add that person to your list. That will distort it a bit because as you've lost somebody, you've gained somebody. You might lose some people and bring your graduation rate down, but you increase by bringing them back up.

Nobody is tracking that junior college kid anyway. He's not being tracked. Currently, that athlete is being tracked if they attended a four-year institution and transferred. If they attended a two-year institution and transferred, they're not being tracked. There is some concern at the national level about the success rate of the junior college transfers to four-year institutions. There's a survey out about that. That's all I know. As I understand it, the graduation rate has not been as high as the norm.

From the Floor

I don't know if that's something Division II needs to deal with. Tracking kids that have transferred should be up to the institution where they graduate from. I'm saying Division I is fine if you have the personnel to track these people down and the resources. In Division II, we don't have those resources so why are we spending time tracking this when we should be responsible for the kids who come to our school and graduate from our school? We should also show the ones that have left. There would be some accountability about what's going on.

Phil Roach

The transfer is a tough problem. We would recommend around this room that be counted at the institution where they matriculate to.

From the Floor

Technically, you could have a graduation rate for transfer students. You could pull that data out as graduation rate of transfer students and this is our graduation rate of student-athletes. Freshman transferring out shouldn't be our responsibility, especially if it's for reasons beyond their control.

Phil Roach

Well, to be consistent with the way you measure your institution, all-student average, you've got to have a benchmark and that is the benchmark.

From the Floor

Yes, but, it's beyond the NCAA. It goes back to how they measure those things. It's archaic. That needs to be adjusted for the present situation, not the way it was 100 years ago.

Phil Roach

Getting the information from the institution where the student-athlete transferred to is the difficult part. Let's move to item #3. Any thoughts? They are not using this formula. What they're saying at those institutions is, of the students that finish their four years of eligibility, 93 percent are graduating. That's often used as an institutional number. If you look through this, you can't find anybody that's graduating everybody at 93 percent. We've used that at our place. I've heard that. If they are at 93 percent, then they're only counting one or two student-athletes.

From the Floor

I think it puts too much pressure on the athletics directors and coaches because their livelihood depends on the success of their athletics teams and, due to situations that may not be in their realm whatsoever, the graduation rate may be lower. There are reasons students leave that are not controlled by athletics whatsoever. (Remainder was inaudible.)

Phil Roach

This is just an example. Maybe it's not five percent, maybe it's 10 percent; maybe it's not 10 percent, maybe it's 15 percent; but shouldn't there at some point be accountability? It's because of the atmosphere of the campus that kids come and then leave. Probably, the coach is recruiting the wrong kid, the kid that doesn't fit the mission or lifestyle of that institution. In our case, if we bring a Black kid in from New York City, he is not going to stay. He won't stay, but he can help us win some games. That just wouldn't work at our place. Or, I bring a tennis player in for just one year, with one year of eligibility. I know he will never graduate, but I can get him on my campus and he can help us win a national championship in tennis. This rule is to eliminate that.

We would agree, if we do it, we would do it sports specific. You couldn't do it over one year. It would have to be on some sort of rolling procedure. You'll have good years and bad years.

Would you agree that some percentage that allows for, in some circumstances they would be sited on probation or some type of citation, the expectation that over so many years you move your graduation rate in the sport of volleyball back within a range? Then, if they don't do it, something would happen. That's a tough one and we're not very excited about it.

Number four. How do you feel about this? You could do the honorable mention, top 10, etc.

From the Floor

If you look at Division I, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, they all have 100 percent graduation. A state university might have 60 percent. I'm asking if there would be a correlation for a kid who has that kind of money to finish school in four years, would that same rule apply to the student-athletes at that same school? Perhaps not Harvard, Yale or Princeton, but an expensive school, where some kids are paying some of the way? Would the top 10 be those same schools every year?

Phil Roach

I expect, but we're listing, not the highest graduation rate, but the percentage between the graduation rate of that student body and that athletics department. I think it's very critical because you can't just say graduation rate because of the very thing you're talking about. We all have different missions. Some people take inner city kids, some take transfers; there are all kinds of reasons we do what we do. I think that measure will prevent what you're talking about.

Our 40 minutes are up. Thank you.