Former Georgia Tech offensive lineman Shamire Devine accepts congratulations from school president G.P. "Bud" Peterson at the school's commencement exercises last Saturday.
Photo: Danny Karnik/Danny Karnik/GT Athletics
Photo: Danny Karnik/Danny Karnik/GT Athletics

Study affirms Tech’s graduation rate of black male athletes

The efforts of Georgia Tech’s athletic department to differentiate itself have received authoritative commendation. A study by the USC Race and Equity Center found that Georgia Tech has done a better job of graduating its black male scholarship athletes than almost any power-conference school in the country.

Further, Tech is one of only four power conference schools that has graduated those athletes at the same rate or higher than its overall population of athletes.

The study found that, between the freshman classes that entered Tech between 2007 and 2010 and graduated in a six-year window, black male scholarship athletes graduated at a 70 percent rate, sixth highest among power conference schools, behind Northwestern (88 percent), Vanderbilt (86 percent), Notre Dame (86 percent), Stanford (82 percent) and Duke (81 percent).

Compared to many of Tech’s direct competitors, the school’s black scholarship athletes performed quite well.

Tech was far superior to some of the seven teams it competes against annually in football – Clemson (65 percent), Duke (81 percent), Georgia (36 percent), Miami (64 percent), North Carolina (43 percent), Pittsburgh (56 percent), Virginia (65 percent) and Virginia Tech (57 percent). Georgia’s rate was 64th out of 65 schools.

Study author Shaun Harper deemed schools such as Tech “winners” for graduating black male athletes at the highest rates, along with those that had made the most significant gains since a previous study.

The 70 percent rate matched the rate of all scholarship athletes at Tech. Miami, Arizona and Vanderbilt were the only other schools that could make the claim that its black scholarship athletes graduated at the same rate as all scholarship athletes, although the graduation rates at Arizona and Miami were lower.

The graduation rates reported in the USC study follow Tech’s NCAA-measured graduation success rates, which was reported at 88 percent last fall for athletes enrolling at Tech between 2007 and 2010. The football team and men’s basketball teams were among Yellow Jackets teams that had graduation rates higher than the national averages for their respective sports.

Still, the study found Tech had room to make gains, as the black scholarship athletes were not graduating at the same rate as the entire student population, 84 percent, and were slightly under the rate of all black male students, 73 percent, although those gaps were similar or better than most ACC members.

According to the study, black scholarship athletes graduated at a 55 percent rate. Among black male students overall, the rate was 60 percent. Athletes’ graduation rate was 69 percent. In the entire population of undergraduate students, the graduation rate was 76 percent.

Among black male athletes, the graduation rate increased by 2.5 percent from the previous measurement two years ago.

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