GSR rises to 80 at UA; highest ever

Posted: November 9, 2017 at 2:38 a.m.

Eighty percent of the athletes that enrolled at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville between 2007-10 graduated within six years, according to numbers released by the NCAA on Wednesday.

The 80 percent score was Arkansas' highest ever in the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate, but ranks last among the 14 universities in the SEC.

Graduation Success Rate is a calculation of how many athletes graduate within six academic years of college enrollment. Arkansas' previous GSR score was 78 last year and the latest score is 33 percent higher than the 60 it received in the NCAA's first report in 2005.

Vanderbilt, a private university, led all SEC members this year with a 96 percent rate. Five public universities -- South Carolina, Missouri, LSU, Mississippi State and Alabama -- graduated at least 90 percent of their athletes.

Texas A&M (81 percent) finished just ahead of Arkansas among SEC universities.

In a release, Arkansas Athletics Director Jeff Long championed the findings in the latest GSR, stating his department has "worked purposefully to provide additional support and encouragement to assist" athletes over the past decade, and the department has "made tremendous progress."

The Razorbacks' two most profitable sports, football and men's basketball, recorded their highest scores in the GSR.

Football's score of 60 was three points higher than 57 a year ago, and 13 points better than the program low of 47 in 2005.

Basketball's score of 75 was a 25 percent increase over last year's rate of 60. The basketball program had a low score of 10 in 2013.

According to incentives outlined in their contracts, Arkansas basketball Coach Mike Anderson and football Coach Bret Bielema each will receive bonuses within 30 days because of the scores. Anderson will receive the maximum bonus possible of $100,000, while Bielema will receive a bonus of $25,000.

Neither coach recruited the players whose scores were reflected in the latest GSR, but both coached some of them early in their tenures at Arkansas.

Arkansas baseball had a GSR score of 65, which is nine points lower than last year's score of 74. The Razorbacks' 2007-10 freshman baseball classes included several players who were drafted to play professional baseball as sophomores or juniors, which likely had a negative effect on the program's GSR score.

Six Arkansas programs -- soccer, swimming/diving, volleyball, women's golf, men's golf and men's tennis -- recorded 100 percent graduation rates in the latest reporting cycle. Other notable scores at Arkansas include women's basketball (77), men's cross country/track (79) and women's cross country/track (81).

GSR is one of two annual report cards issued by the NCAA to track academic trends in college athletics. The Academic Progress Rate (APR) is released each spring and focuses on athletes' eligibility during four-year and single-year periods.

Sports on 11/09/2017