FAYETTEVILLE — The NCAA released its latest Graduation Rate Success (GSR) scores Thursday morning and Arkansas’ football and basketball programs produced the lowest marks in the Southeastern Conference.
The Razorbacks’ football team had a graduation rate of 54 percent, while the basketball team had a graduation rate of 10 percent. The scores were comprised of student-athletes who entered school in a four-year period between 2003-06.
Only two other Division I men’s basketball programs — Connecticut (8) and Centenary College (0) — recorded a lower GSR than the Razorbacks.
Arkansas, meanwhile, posted a program-wide GSR score of 74. It fell below the national average of 82, but was Arkansas’ highest since the NCAA began releasing data in 1998. Arkansas’ overall GSR has increased in each of the past five years.
"We are pleased that this year’s GSR reflects the sustained progress our program is making in the graduation of student-athletes," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a news release. "For the fifth-consecutive year, we have earned a GSR exceeding 70 percent including this year’s record mark of 74 percent."
Long was unavailable for comment regarding the football and men’s basketball scores, which were the athletic department’s lowest marks. It’s not unusual. Football and men’s basketball programs typically produce the lowest GSR scores nationwide.
Arkansas football recorded a 47 the first time GSR scores were available in 1998 and has had a high mark of 55 three times. The basketball program’s GSR of 10 is its lowest and down from 25 in the previous year. Its high mark was 58 in 2002.
Arkansas’ gymnastics and women’s golf teams recorded the program’s highest GSR scores for the latest data. Each program earned a 100.
"While we are seeing progress in both the GSR and Federal graduation rate data, it does not yet provide a true reflection of the progress we have made as a combined department," Long said in Thursday’s statement. "We are confident that in the coming years we will see the long-term positive results that other real time measurements have already indicated. Last year, for the first time, all 19 of our sports exceeded the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) benchmark. In addition, Razorback student-athletes posted a record grade point average of 3.09."