April 7, 2011
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By Leigh Torbin
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Wednesday was National Student-Athlete Day and UCF fittingly recently received some great news about the high graduation rate for Knight teams. The latest University of Central Florida graduation rates were recently published and, continuing their recent trend of academic success, UCF student-athletes have surpassed the campus average.
For students who first enrolled at the University of Central Florida for the fall of 2004, the student-athlete graduation rate of 67-percent is a 12-point improvement from the previous academic year. The 67-percent graduation rate is also four points higher than the UCF general student population that was admitted in the fall of 2004.
For the enrolling class of 2004, UCF male and female student-athletes each graduated at a significantly higher rate than the UCF student body as a whole. UCF's female student-athletes graduated at 74-percent compared to 67-percent of all UCF female students. UCF's male student-athletes graduated at 63-percent, exceeding the 59-percent for male UCF students.
Helping to lead that surge on the male side is the success of the football team which graduated 70-percent of current head coach George O'Leary's first recruiting class, a group which included Academic All-American Keith Shologan and Draddy Trophy semifinalist Sha'reff Rashad.
The most-recent four-year total (2001-04) for all student-athletes is at 62-percent, which is equal to all students at UCF who enrolled during the same time frame. Reflecting the recent successes of UCF Athletics in the classroom, this is the first time that the four-year total graduation rate for student-athletes is equal to the total student populations.
The graduation rate for African-American male student-athletes, who enrolled in 2004, stands at 80-percent. That figure is 26 points higher than all African-American male students at UCF at the same time.
These tremendous numbers simply continue the recent trend of academic success that has become commonplace at UCF.
UCF's all-sports APR (Academic Progress Rate) has improved in each of the past five years. The school's current 967 average ranking is the best for a public Conference USA school and trails only academic powers Rice and Tulane overall. More locally, UCF's 967 is third of the 13 Division I schools in the state of Florida, trailing only Miami and Florida. Of UCF's 12 varsity teams, 12 (75-percent) matched or exceeded their sport's national average APR for public schools.
Since joining C-USA in 2005-06, the Knights have averaged 197 student-athletes per year on the Commissioner's Honor Roll, comfortably outdistancing Rice's 187.8 for the best mark in the league.
The Knights have also been a success on the field thus far in 2010-11, earning three Conference USA championships (football, women's basketball and women's indoor track & field) and seeing seven teams crack the national Top 25 rankings (football, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's basketball, women's indoor track & field, women's outdoor track & field and baseball). This combination made it a very happy National Student-Athlete Day in Orlando.