Football in top 10 percent for graduation success among FBS schools

November 05, 2010

University Park, Pa. — The Penn State football team is among the top 10 percent nationally and owns the Big Ten Conference's No. 2 Graduation Success Rate (GSR), according to data recently released by the NCAA.

Penn State football student-athletes that enrolled in the University from 2000-03 earned a Graduation Success Rate of 84 percent, tied for No. 12 among the nation's 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions. Penn State's 84 percent GSR was significantly higher than the 67 percent FBS average and was second to Northwestern (95) among Big Ten Conference institutions, according to the NCAA.

Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions earned the No. 8 GSR score among institutions that play in a Bowl Championship Series automatic qualifying conference.

Penn State football student-athletes that enrolled in the University from 2000-03 earned a four-year federal graduation rate of 77 percent, also No. 2 to Northwestern among Big Ten squads. The Nittany Lions' 77 percent graduation figure was 22 points above the 55 percent FBS average, according to the NCAA.

Last year, the Penn State football team earned the highest GSR and federal graduation rate among teams ranked in the final 2009 Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Graduation Success Rate data includes only student-athletes receiving athletic aid and is generated from four years of graduation data. The GSR data also includes student-athlete transfers to Penn State that receive athletic aid.

Top Football Graduation Success Rates (2010 NCAA data)

1. 96 - Notre Dame


2. 95 - Duke and Northwestern

4. 93 - Rice

5. 92 - U.S. Naval Academy

6. 90 - Boston College

7. 89 - Vanderbilt

8. 88 - Rutgers

9. 86 - Stanford, U.S. Air Force Academy

11. 85 - U.S. Military Academy

12. 84 - Penn State and University of Southern Mississippi

The strong NCAA graduation rate data is the latest success in a long line of academic achievement for members of Paterno's program, who consistently are near the top nationally in academic success:

- Penn State has had eight CoSIDA Academic All-Americans the past two years to lead the nation, with seven first team selections. The Nittany Lions' 12 Academic All-Americans over the past four years includes 10 first team selections.

- During Joe Paterno's tenure, Penn State has had 44 Academic All-Americans, with 34 earning first team honors. The Nittany Lions' all-time total of 46 Academic All-America football players ranks third among all FBS institutions and leads all Big Ten schools.

- Forty-nine Penn State football student-athletes earned a 3.00 grade point average or higher during the 2009 Fall semester.

For the 2010 NCAA Graduation rate data for all institutions go to:

Penn State (5-3, 2-2) hosts Northwestern (6-2, 2-2) in a critical Big Ten contest on Saturday in Beaver Stadium. Paterno will be seeking his 400th career victory against the Wildcats. The contest will kick at 3:30 p.m. and air on ABC (ESPN2 in outer markets), the Penn State Sports Network and

A limited number of tickets for Penn State's home games with Northwestern and Michigan State (Nov. 27) are available at or by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m. Tickets also are available at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket office.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010