UCLA tops USC in graduating athletes

October 29, 2014
(uclabruins.com photo)

2014 UCLA graduates. (uclabruins.com photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Eighty-seven percent of the UCLA athletes who entered the university between 2004 and 2007 graduated within six years of their enrollments, compared to 80 percent who entered cross-town rival USC during the same period, according to statistics released today by the NCAA.

UCLA’s 87 percent Graduation Success Rate matched the figure released last year, which covered athletes who entered between 2003 and 2006. USC’s Graduation Success Rate for athletes who entered between 2003 and 2006 was 77 percent.

The most recent Graduation Success Rate for the UCLA football team was 88 percent, second in the Pacific-12 Conference, behind Stanford’s 99 percent.

USC’s rate was 58 percent, 11th in the conference, ahead of only California, which was at 51 percent.

According to information provided by USC, of the 65 football players in the current 2004-07 cohort, 33 played in the NFL and 17 of those players got their USC degrees within the six-year GSR calculation period.

The other 16 NFL Trojans from that cohort left school after their final fall season in order to prepare for the NFL and didn’t finish their graduation requirements in the six-year window.

However, four of those 16 have since returned to campus and graduated while another will graduate this fall, bringing to 66 percent of the cohort’s football players to get a USC degree.

Five more of those players are expected to re-enroll at USC in the spring to complete their degree work. If they successfully complete their work, 74 percent of the 2004-07 cohort will be USC graduates.

The UCLA’s men’s basketball Graduation Success Rate was 60 percent, 11th in the conference, ahead of only California, which was at 46 percent. USC was ninth in the conference with a 67 percent Graduation Success Rate.

USC had several NBA players during the period covered, including Nick Young, Taj Gibson, O.J. Mayo and Gabe Pruitt.  Every USC men’s basketball player in that cohort who didn’t play in the NBA has graduated, according to the university.

“The 2004-07 period was a golden era for football and men’s basketball at USC, with many future professionals on those rosters,” said Magdi El Shahawy, USC senior associate athletic director in charge of Student-Athlete Academic Services. “Our GSR in those sports is somewhat a victim of our athletic success during that time frame.

“To get a true snapshot of our academic performance then, one needs to look at our sports programs across the board. Our overall 80 percent figure is very close to the national rate, which is at 82 percent.  And if you take football and men’s basketball out of the equation, our GSR would be 87 percent, which would place us among the Pac-12′s top four schools if every school’s GSR was calculated without those two sports.”

In the most recent report, the USC women’s golf and women’s volleyball teams had 100 percent Graduation Success Rates, while women’s water polo was at 96 percent, women’s soccer at 95 percent, women’s crew and rowing 94 percent, men’s swimming at 93 percent and men’s water polo at 91 percent.

Three UCLA women’s teams had 100 percent Graduation Success Rates – basketball, softball and tennis. Four others had at least 90 percent – swimming (96 percent), cross country and track (94 percent); crew and rowing (92 percent) and water polo (92 percent).

Two UCLA men’s teams had at least 90 percent Graduation Success Rates – volleyball (96 percent) and water polo (94 percent).