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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Editorials | Opinion
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Graduation gap worsens for blacks

By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist, 12/29/2000

Second of two parts

AS ANEMIC as they already were, the graduation rates of African-American football players at bowl schools is getting worse. In my fifth annual Graduation Gap Bowl, the 50 teams in this season's bowl games have watched their African-American graduation rate fall from 43.2 percent in the 1996 NCAA report to 41.5 percent in 2000.

Some schools are making progress. Northwestern has raised African-American player graduation rates 24 percentage points, from 61 percent in 1996 to 85 percent in 2000. Florida, once a plantation, has risen from 31 percent to 50 percent. Kansas State is still horrid, but at 25 percent, is better than the 7 percent of 1996. Ten other schools had rises of African-American player graduation rates of between 10 and 16 percent.

But the successes are swamped by the failures. The African-American player graduation rates have dropped at Oregon State by 51 percentage points, from 91 percent to 40 percent. They have dropped at Michigan by 43 points (71 to 28). They have dropped at Boston College, Texas Christian, Southern Mississippi, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, and Oregon by between 17 and 29 percentage points (Boston College is something of an oddity, dropping from 100 percent to 71 percent, still good enough for the fourth highest African-American rate among the 50 schools).

Schools you thought that could not go deeper into the gutter are proving us wrong. Ohio State has dropped from a 29 percent African-American player graduation rate to 17 percent. Arkansas has dropped from 20 percent down to 16 percent.

So as you get ready for the bowl games, here are a few scouting reports you will not see on national television. Bowl teams in order of graduation rates. The Division 1 student body average is 56 percent.

(1) Northwestern 88, (2) Notre Dame 82, (3) Boston College 78, (4) Air Force 77, (5) Virginia 76, (6) UCLA 63, (7) Mississippi and Mississippi State 60, (9) Florida State 59, (10) Oregon 58, (11) Nebraska and South Carolina 57, (13) Washington, Texas and Clemson 56, (16) Wisconsin 55, (17) North Carolina State and Purdue 54, (19) Oregon State and Iowa State 53, (21) Southern Mississippi and Georgia 51, (23) Florida and Minnesota 50, (25) East Carolina and West Virginia 48, (27) Pittsburgh 47, (28) Miami 46, (29) Virginia Tech 45, (30) Kansas State 44, (31) Auburn 43, (32) Colorado State and Texas Christian 42, (34) Michigan and Tennessee 41, (36) Arizona State and Marshall 40, (38) Texas Tech 39, (39) Cincinnati and Georgia Tech 37, (41) Louisiana State and Oklahoma 35, (43) Louisville 33, (44) Texas A&M 30, (45) Texas El-Paso and Fresno State 29, (47) Ohio State and Nevada-Las Vegas 28, (49) Arkansas 23, (50) Boise State 20.

Bowl teams, from worst to best, in graduating less than 56 percent of African-American players, the Division 1 student body average.

(1) Fresno State 13, (2) Arkansas 16, (3) Ohio State 17, (4) Nevada-Las Vegas and Texas A&M 20, (6) Texas El-Paso 22 (7) Texas Tech 23, (8) Boise State and Kansas State 25, (10) Iowa State and Oklahoma 26, (12) Louisiana State 27, (13) Michigan 28, (14) Auburn 30, (15) Georgia Tech 31, (16) Arizona State, Louisville and Tennessee 33, (19) Cincinnati and Texas Christian 34, (21) Minnesota 37, (22) Georgia and Southern Mississippi 39, (24) Oregon State 40, (25) Colorado State 41, (26) Purdue 42, (27) Texas and Pittsburgh 43, (29) North Carolina State and Marshall 44, (31) Oregon, Virginia Tech and West Virginia 45, (34) Miami 48, (35) Florida and Mississippi 50, (37) Nebraska and Clemson 52, (39) Florida State, East Carolina and Washington 54, (42) Wisconsin 55.

Bowl teams, from best to mediocre, in graduating at least 56 percent of their African-American players.

(1) Northwestern 85, (2) Notre Dame 80, (3) Air Force 73, (4) Boston College 71, (5) Virginia 68, (6) South Carolina 60, (7) UCLA 59, (8) Mississippi State 56.

Teams, from worst to most equal, in graduation gaps between African-American players and the student body.

(1) Michigan -55 (83 percent of student body graduated compared to 28 percent of African-American players), (2) Texas A&M -50 (70/20), (3) Ohio State -39 (56/17), (4) Georgia Tech -37 (68/31), (5) Auburn -36 (66/30), (6) Iowa State -34 (60/26), (7) Fresno State -31 (44/13), (8) Texas Christian -28 (62/34), (9) Virginia Tech and Arkansas -27 (72/45 and 43/16, respectively), (11), Kansas State -25 (50/25), (12) Virginia and Georgia -24 (92/68 and 63/39), (14) Purdue and Tennessee -23 (65/42 and 56/33) (16), Texas Tech and Texas -22 (45/23 and 65/43), (18) North Carolina State and Louisiana State -21 (65/44 and 48/27), (20) Oregon State -20 (60/40), (21) Clemson, UCLA, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh -19 (71/52, 78/59, 45/26 and 63/43), (25) Wisconsin -18 (73/55), (26) Colorado State -17 (58/41), (27) Washington -16 (70-54), (28) Boston College, Florida and Nevada-Las Vegas -15 (86/71, 65/50 and 35/20), (31) Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Notre Dame (47/33, 48/34, 51/37 and 94/80), (35) Oregon -13 (58/45), (36) Miami -11 (59/48), (37) Florida State and West Virginia -10 (64/54 and 55/45), (39) Northwestern -6 (91/85), (40) Air Force -4 (77/73), (41) Southern Mississippi -3 (42/39), (42) Texas El-Paso -1 (23/22), (43) Mississippi and South Carolina +1 (49/50 and 59/60), (45) Boise State and Louisville +4 (21/25 and 29/33), (47) East Carolina and Nebraska +5 (49/54 and 47/52), (49) Mississippi State +8 (48/56), (50) Marshall +10 (34/44).

Bowl teams, from worst to most equal, in graduation gaps between African-American players and white players.

(1) Auburn -50 (30 percent of African-American players graduated, compared to 80 percent of white players, (2) Fresno State -45 (13/58), (3) Texas Tech -44 (23/67), (4) Iowa State -41 (26/67), (5) Georgia -37 (39/76), (6) Nevada-Las Vegas and Texas A&M -34 (20/54 for both), (8) Kansas State -32 (25/57), (9) Southern Mississippi -30 (30/60), (10) Ohio State -28 (17/45), (11) Michigan and Oregon State -27 (28/55 and 40/67), (13) Texas -25 (43/68), (14) Minnesota -23 (37/60), (15) Texas-El Paso, Louisiana State, North Carolina State and Oklahoma -22 (22/44, 27/49, 44/66 and 26/48), (19) Mississippi and Tennessee -21 (50/71 and 33/54), (21) Purdue and Arkansas -20 (42/62 and 16/36), (23) Georgia Tech -19 (31/50), (24) Oregon -18 (45/63), (25) Virginia -16 (68/84), (26) Texas Christian -15 (34/49), (27) Boston College, Clemson and Florida State -13 (71/84, 52/65 and 54/67), (30) UCLA and Washington -12 (59/71 and 54/66, respectively), (32) Nebraska -10 (52/62), (33) Pittsburgh -9 (43/52), (34) Cincinnati -8 (34/42), (35) Mississippi State and West Virginia -7 (56/63 and 45/52, respectively), (37) Arizona State and Air Force -5 (33/38 and 73/78), (39) Northwestern and Notre Dame -4 (85/89 and 80/84), (41) Florida, Louisville and Wisconsin -2 (50/52, 33/35 and 55/57), (44) Virginia Tech -1 (45/46), (45) Colorado State 0 (41/41), (46) Marshall and Boise State +8 (44/36 and 25/17), (48) Miami +10 48/38, (49) South Carolina +10 60/50, (50) East Carolina +18 54/36.

The 25 bowl teams where African-American graduation rates have declined from the 1996 graduation report. Average decline was 13.2 percentage points.

Oregon State -51 (91 in 1996, 40 percent in 2000), Michigan -43 (71/28), Boston College -29 (100/71), Texas Christian -27 (61/34), Southern Mississippi -24 (54/30), Georgia Tech and West Virginia -21 (52/31 and 66/45), Oregon -17 (62/45), Ohio State -12 (29/17), Oklahoma -11 (37/26) Virginia and Texas A&M -10 (78/68 and 30/20), Louisville -9 (42/33), Texas-El Paso -8 (30/22) Colorado State -7 (48/41), Miami, Iowa State and Pittsburgh -6 (54/48, 32/26 and 49/43), Nevada Las-Vegas -5 (25/20) Arkansas -4 (20/16), Auburn -2 (32/30), Fresno State and Nebraska -1 (14/13 and 53/52), Georgia and Virginia Tech 0 (39/39 and 45/45).

The 25 bowl teams where African-American graduation rates have risen from 1996. Average rise was 9.7 percentage points.

Northwestern +24 (61/85), Florida +19 (31/50), Kansas State +18 (7/25), Clemson and South Carolina +16 (36/52 and 44/60, respectively), UCLA +15 (44/59), Cincinnati +13 (21/34) Wisconsin and Texas Tech +11 (44/55 and 12/23, respectively), Minnesota, Mississippi, Purdue and North Carolina State +10 (27/37, 40/50, 32/42 and 34/44), Florida State and Notre Dame +9 (43/54 and 71/80), Washington and Louisiana State +8 (46/54 and 19/27), Tennessee +6 (27/33), East Carolina +5 (49/54), Arizona State +4 (29/33), Marshall and Air Force +3 (41/44 and 69/72), Boise State and Texas +2 (23/25 and 41/43), Mississippi State +1 (55/56).

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A23 of the Boston Globe on 12/29/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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