Tuesday, January 31, 2023
USC Sets School Record for Graduating Athletes For Eighth Consecutive Year
By City News Service
Published December 3, 2021

#13 running back and safety, Stafon Johnson, was a high school star for the Dorsey Dons. Bottom Photo: #13 Stafon Johnson enjoying USC’s Rose Bowl victory in 2006. (Courtesy photos)

USC athletes set a school Graduation Success Rate for the eighth consecutive year while UCLA’s rate was three percentage points lower than its record set two years ago, according to figures released today by the NCAA. USC had a 92% Graduation Success Rate, one percentage point higher than last year. UCLA’s rate was 89%, one percentage point less than last year.

USC’s success followed the national trend. The Graduation Success Rate for Division I athletes was 90%, matching the record set last year. The 2021 GSR measures the percentage of student-athletes in the classes of 2011 through 2014 who graduated within six years of their enrollment.

The men’s basketball team was among six USC teams with perfect scores, along with the men’s tennis and volleyball and women’s cross-country and track and field, lacrosse and soccer teams. (Cross-country and track and field are considered one sport for Graduation Success Rates.) The men’s basketball team’s rate was 25 percentage points higher than last year and 40 percentage points higher than 2019. The program’s previous high was 82% from figures released in 2015.


The football team’s 81% rate was one percentage point short of matching the program high set in 2019 and equaled last year. It was 5 percentage points higher than the figure released in 2018 and 26 percentage points higher than the initial figure released in 2005. This is the sixth consecutive year the USC women’s soccer team has had a perfect score, fifth consecutive year for the men’s tennis team and fourth consecutive year for the women’s lacrosse team.

There were seven UCLA teams with 100 percent Graduation Success Rates — the women’s basketball, golf, gymnastics, rowing, swimming and diving and tennis and men’s tennis teams. The UCLA football team had a 81% rate, two percentage points less than  last year and five percentage points less than 2019. The program’s high was 89% in figures released in 2015.

The UCLA men’s basketball team had a 55% rate, 12 percentage points higher than last year but two percentage points lower than two years ago. This is the ninth consecutive year the UCLA women’s basketball team has had a perfect score, eighth consecutive year for the women’s tennis team, seventh consecutive year for the women’s golf team, fourth consecutive year for the women’s gymnastics and men’s tennis teams, third consecutive year for the women’s rowing team and second consecutive year for the women’s swimming & diving team.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors created the GSR in 2002 in response to college and university presidents who wanted data that more accurately reflected the mobility of college students beyond what the federal graduation rate measures.

The federal rate counts as an academic failure any student who leaves a school, even if the student enrolls at another school. The federal rate does not recognize students who enter school as transfer students.   The GSR formula removes from the rate athletes who leave school while academically eligible and includes athletes who transfer to a school after initially enrolling elsewhere.

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