Last Monday, Florida State University defeated Auburn University to win the BCS national championship of college football. Black football players at Florida State have a four-year average graduation rate of 38 percent using the official Department of Education guidelines. Using the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s graduation success rate for Florida State, a figure which includes students who begin college at one institution but complete their degree at another institution, the graduation rate for Black football players is 50 percent. (For White football players at Florida State, the graduation rate using the federal standard is 92 percent. Using the NCAA’s graduation success rate, all White football players earned a degree.)
While Auburn lost the football game, it has a superior record in graduating its Black football players. Using the federal calculation, Auburn has a graduation rate for Black football players of 54 percent, 16 percentage points higher than Florida State. Using the NCAA’s graduation success rate, Auburn beats Florida State by a margin of 13 percentage points.
In any event, Eric J. Barron, president of Florida State University states that what ever measure is used, the “rate remains unacceptable and that is why in recent years our university has taken aggressive steps to improve the academic success of our student athletes.”
Florida State has doubled the resources allocated to academic support programs for student athletes. And President Barron states, “I charged the newly hired athletic director with making the academic success of our student athletes a priority.”