Penn State earns top Academic Progress Rate among January bowl teams

Orlando, Fla. - The Penn State Football team owns the highest Academic Progress Rate (APR) and the No. 2 Graduation Success Rate among the 28 teams playing in a New Year's bowl game, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).

Dr. Richard Lapchick is the founder and director of the Institute, which is housed at the University of Central Florida, located in Orlando.

The Nittany Lions' most recent Academic Progress Rate of 976 is highest among the 28 teams playing a January, 2010 post-season contest and tied for No. 6 overall among the 68 teams in a 2009-10 bowl game. Penn State leads all Big Ten bowl teams in APR, with Northwestern second at 973.

Among students entering Penn State in the fall of 1999 through 2002, Nittany Lion football student-athletes earned a record GSR of 85 percent, trailing only Northwestern's 92 percent figure among the teams in a January bowl game. Penn State's GSR is No. 6 overall among the 68 bowl squads.

Penn State's 85 percent Graduation Success Rate is significantly higher than the 67 percent Football Bowl Subdivision average.

For the third consecutive year, Penn State ranks in the top 12 among all bowl teams in the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate and Academic Progress Rate figures.

Coach Joe Paterno's squad also has the highest federal graduation rate among teams ranked in the Dec. 6 Associated Press Top 25 poll, according to data released in November by the NCAA.

Penn State football student-athletes that enrolled in the University in the fall of 2002 earned a federal graduation rate of 89 percent, the best among the teams ranked in the AP's final regular season poll. Stanford was second at 88 percent and Alabama and Miami (Fla). were tied for third at 75 percent.

Penn State's 89 percent federal graduation rate led all Big Ten Conference institutions and was 34 points above the 55 percent FBS average, according to the NCAA.

For the second consecutive year, Penn State led all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America selections.

Three Nittany Lions repeated their Academic All-America accolades on the 2009 team: senior linebacker Josh Hull (Millheim), senior kick snapper Andrew Pitz (Bettendorf, Iowa) and junior center Stefen Wisniewski (Bridgeville). Hull and Pitz were 2008 first team honorees and Wisniewski was a second team selection last year. Hull and Pitz become the seventh and eighth Nittany Lions to earn first team Academic All-America honors twice.

Last year, a program record five Nittany Lions were selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team. Penn State has had 12 Academic All-Americans over the past four years and 45 overall under Paterno, 34 of whom were first-team selections. Penn State's 47 Academic All-Americans all-time is No. 3 among FBS teams.

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Last Updated April 10, 2012