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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Athletic Graduation Rates At An All-Time High

USC's Senior Associate Athletic Director, Dr. Magdi El Shahawy, attributes these record-high rates to his staff, the Stevens Academic Center and to AD Pat Haden. 

USC student-athletes set a new school record by recording an 81 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR). 

Trojan graduation rates jumped up four points from last year's 77 percent GSR. 

According to the latest figures released by the NCAA, rising graduation rates are a trend across college athletics. This year's GSR for Division-I scholar athletes was a record 86 percent, up two percent from last year.

The NCAA's figures cover scholarship athletes who began college between the years of 2005-2006 and 2008-2009. 

USC's 81 percent GSR landed them fifth in the PAC-12 Conference. Arizona State and Utah tied for first with a 90 percent GSR. Meanwhile, UCLA's 86 percent GSR fell one point short of their school-record.

USC's Senior Associate Athletic Director, Dr. Magdi El Shahawy, is in charge of student-athlete academic services. In Dr. El Shahawy's 15 years at the University, USC has more than doubled the size of their academic services staff available for student-athletes. 

Dr. El Shahawy attributed USC's record high graduation rates to his ever-growing staff, the recently-opened Stevens Academic Center, and to Athletic Director Pat Haden, who "has a clear message to make sure student-athletes get the full college experience competing in [athletics] and in the classroom."

ATVN initially reported that Men's Basketball had the largest increase in GSR, however, Dr. El Shahawy noted that it was in fact the Women's Basketball team who recorded the largest boost in graduation rates. The women had an impressive 100 percent GSR, jumping up 25 points from their 75 percent GSR last year. Men's hoops jumped up 15 points from last year's rates, and recorded a respectable 82 percent GSR. 

Of all the athletic teams at USC, the football team finished in dead last with a GSR of 58 percent. California was the only school in the PAC-12 Conference whose football GSR was lower than USC's. 

Dr. El Shahawy pointed out that the NFL greatly affects football's GSR. 

"Of the 71 players in the 2005 to 2008 football cohort, 41 of them graduated in the six-year GSR window. Of [the 30] who didn't, 22 competed in the NFL," El Shahawy said. 

Dr. El Shahawy also noted that many former student-athletes have come back to complete their degrees, and those numbers are not taken into account in Graduation Success Rates.

Two Trojan teams, Women's Basketball and Women's Golf, recorded a 100 pecent Graduation Success Rate. Five other teams broke the 90 percent mark. They were Women's Waterpolo (96 percent), Women's Soccer (95 percent), Women's Rowing (94 percent), Women's Volleyball (91 percent), and Baseball (91 percent). 

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