Colgate Athletes Showcase Their Smarts In New Study

Colgate has long been known as an academic school. However, with the recent allowance of athletic scholarships into the school’s admissions policies, some have begun to question the academic integrity of the University. Nonetheless, the fusion of Colgate athletics and academics was recognized on a national level in early March, when Colgate University received very high marks in the newly released NCAA Academic Progress Ratings. In the rankings, Colgate finished tied for 18th overall and achieved the third highest percentage of perfect scores out of 326 Division-I programs in the nation.David Roach, in his first year as Athletic Director at Colgate, is ultimately the man who must answer to questions regarding Colgate’s scores.”When you tie for 18th place [with Duke University], you have to be extremely satisfied,” Roach said. “It shows that Colgate has great athletes and does not sacrifice academics. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and lots to be proud of.”The rating system is based on a relatively simple formula. According to the NCAA website, the formula awards two points each term to student-athletes who meet eligibility standards and remain at the institution. The rate is then achieved by dividing the total points earned by the total amount of points possible. Out of Colgate’s 24 varsity sports, 19 received perfect scores of 1,000, placing the University third percentage-wise behind Yale, which scored perfectly in 27 of 29 sports, and Loyola (MD), which had 12 of 15. The five Raider programs that did not receive perfect scores include men’s basketball, men’s soccer, football and field hockey, as well as one other sport, the name of which cannot be released due to privacy issues.Men’s basketball and football are the two poster children for academic dishonesty around the country and therefore are likely to have the most highly scrutinized results. According to the report, 28.6 percent of football programs and 18.7 percent of men’s basketball programs fell below the cut-off rate of 925, after which point programs would be in danger of incurring penalties, including loss of scholarships, in the future. A score of 925 is approximate to a 50 percent graduation rate.The Raider men’s basketball team was the lone Raider sport to score below 925, although the score of 923 was barely below the cut line. This is somewhat misleading, for a sport such as basketball has such a small number of players that a few bad semesters could bring the entire team below the cut-off line.In order to help account for this, the team was given an “upper confidence boundary” that resides above the 925 line. Such a boundary is used for smaller squads such as basketball, tennis and track as an estimated range in which the score could potentially fall, and so no penalties would be incurred for a program that has an upper boundary above the cut-off line. Nevertheless, Roach sees no problems with the way in which the basketball program or any Raider athletic programs are run.”No team is going to be perfect,” Roach stated. “Just because a team is not perfect does not mean that it needs help. Everyone is not going to be successful every semester … the student-athletes are really no different than the general student body.”As a whole, the University received a score of 984, which placed Colgate 36 points above the national Division-I average of 948. Its score also placed the school higher than the Patriot League average of 978.63 points. In comparison to its fellow Patriot League schools and the eight schools of the Ivy League, the conference to which Colgate compares itself both athletically and academically, Colgate matched up favorably. Colgate finished third out of eight Patriot League institutions, right behind Navy (990) and Holy Cross (987), and finished behind five of the eight Ivy League schools, just behind local rival Cornell (987). The lowest ranking Patriot League school was American, which finished with a score of 963, while Dartmouth trailed the rest of the Ancient Eight with a score of 966.”I think [the scores] prove that you can go to a Patriot League school and reach every level of academic potential,” Roach said. “We can use this as an extremely positive message.”According to Roach, the ratings are designed to be a four-year rolling average and to look beyond a one-year rating. Therefore, the true results of the rating system will not be shown until the system has been in place for several years.In the spring, the NCAA will also launch an alternative method for determining graduation rates, the Graduation Success Rate. This rate will give credit to schools for academically eligible transfers, both to and from the school, as well as midyear enrollees. In combination, the two new formulae will help to clean up the huge mess that Division I athletics have dissolved into on many collegiate campuses.”This is the morning of a new day,” NCAA President Myles Brand said in a press release. “The NCAA and its member universities and colleges will now be held accountable for the academic success of student-athletes.”Colgate, for one, has always fostered an environment in which its student-athletes are held accountable for their performance both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. So as some other universities begin to delve into the problems of academic dishonesty, Colgate has once again managed to stay ahead of the game.