NCAA Ranks Colgate First in Student-Athlete

Audrey Melick

A few weeks ago, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced its recent round of Graduation Success Rates, with the number one spot for Division I Athletics being filled by none other than Colgate University. Tied with two other schools, the University of San Francisco and Alcorn State University, Colgate’s student-athlete graduation rate is at an all-time high of 99 percent, slightly above other prestigious D-I universities including Notre Dame, Holy Cross, Duke and Northwestern. According to Assistant Athletic Director-Compliance Coordinator Ann-Marie Guglieri, this has a lot to do with the fact that Colgate has more to offer its athletes than do larger institutions.

“We’re one of the leading liberal arts institutions and we’re smaller [than other schools],” she said. “Whenever you’re in a smaller community, you have so much more opportunity and ability to participate in a variety of activities, whether they’re athletic, academic or otherwise.”

Athletics Director David Roach agrees. “It’s a huge credit to our coaches, staff and student athletes that we’re able to maintain this balance,” he said.

The NCAA’s rankings show the percentage of student-athletes earning a degree within six years, based upon the four-class aggregate of first-year classes from 1998 to 2001. The Graduation Success Rates (GSR) are calculated for the entire athletic department, and then broken down into individual programs. Colgate’s GSR was a remarkable 100 percent in 18 of its 20 sports.

“It’s a credit to Colgate as an institution that we are able to run a D-I athletics program where students can achieve and hold onto high athletic and academic status,” Roach said. “As far as keeping up with this status, I think the correct balance is already in place here. Student-athletes are getting the right kind of support from coaches and staff. And [coaches] are going to continue to recruit the same type of students.”

Guglieri shares Roach’s optimism. “This is a clear indication of the kind of students our coaches are recruiting, students who are able to make both their education and their sport a high priority… This is something we can be proud of, something to help recruit student-athletes in the future — that we’re a school that is competitive in both athletics and academics.”

Colgate’s latest reported GSR of 99 percent is the highest it has ever been; last year, it was reported to be 96 percent. The following sports had a GSR of 100 percent in the most recent report: Men’s Basketball, Men’s XC/Track, Golf, Men’s Ice Hockey, Men’s Lacrosse, Men’s Swimming, Men’s Tennis, Women’s Basketball, Women’s XC/Track, Women’s Rowing, Field Hockey, Women’s Ice Hockey, Women’s Lacrosse, Women’s Soccer, Softball, Women’s Swimming, Women’s Tennis and Volleyball.