Dawgs' NCAA graduation rates not passing

Damon Evans

ATHENS – The NCAA released its first graduation success rates of the year Wednesday, and Georgia flunked.

Several key Bulldog teams fared poorly, but the worst by far was the men's basketball program, which graduated nine percent of its scholarship athletes for the time period measured - classes entering from 1996 through 1999.

In that time frame, 11 Georgia basketball players fit the measured profile and one graduated. The national average for men's basketball programs was 59 percent.

"I am disappointed in our overall graduate success rate as well as that of some of the individual sports," athletic director Damon Evans said in a statement released by the school. "We should be doing better and this is an area that we have been, and are, committed to focusing on. As an academic institution, our first responsibility is to graduate student-athletes, and, in some cases, we are not performing to the standard that we expect."

The basketball players measured by this round of scores came from the signing classes of Tubby Smith, Ron Jirsa and Jim Harrick.

The football team graduated 41 percent of its players from the same time period, 24 points behind the national average.

"We'd love for that number to be higher, and we're working like mad for it to be higher," said football coach Mark Richt, who didn't recruit any of the players measured in this study.

Georgia's football coaches get weekly academic progress reports for every player on the team and every player who earns 30 hours of credit in a semester receives prizes, Richt said.

The Bulldog baseball team graduated 48 percent, 17 points behind the national average.

The overall graduation success rate for NCAA teams is 77 percent, according to the data.

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