WACO, Texas - The Southern Miss football program was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) for its academic achievement on the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level as having a graduation rate of 75 percent or better.
Georgia, Rice, Stanford and Tulane shared the AFCA's 2013 Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis, and will be presented in January. The four institutions recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2006.
This year's award marked the sixth time the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA. Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA's Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.
Forty-six other institutions, including Southern Miss, will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Twelve of those institutions - Army, Boston College, Duke, East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Nebraska, Northwestern, South Florida, TCU, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Washington - achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 34 institutions are: Air Force, Alabama, Boise State, Central Florida, Clemson, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee, Minnesota, Missouri, Navy, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, SMU, South Carolina, Temple, Texas A&M, Toledo, Tulsa, Utah, Utah State, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Western Kentucky and Wisconsin.
The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.
The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees.
Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution's GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.
2013 Conference Breakdown of Winners and Honorable Mentions: AAC- 7, ACC- 7, Conference USA- 7, Big 10- 6, SEC- 6, Pac-12- 5, Independents- 3, Mountain West- 3, Big 12- 2, MAC- 2, Sun Belt- 2.