Thursday, October 23, 2008


WACO, TEXAS — The University of Colorado will receive the American Football Coaches Association's 2008 Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. Colorado recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2001. This is the first honor for Colorado since the award's inception.

"This is a tremendous honor, one in which many people contributed, that enabled CU to earn this distinction," Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins said. "This is a team deal, on and off the field, and we are here to develop great people, graduate students and win championships."

This year's award marks the first time the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formuala has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007 the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA.

Forty-six other institutions will be recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Six of those institutions — Cincinnati, Duke, Navy, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Vanderbilt — achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 40 institutions are: Air Force, Akron, Alabama, Arkansas State, Army, Baylor, Boston College, Bowling Green, Central Florida, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Middle Tennessee State, Nevada, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio, Oregon State, Penn State, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Texas Tech, Toledo, UCLA, Utah State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin.

The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997 the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.

The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees.

Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution's GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent. The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.

Conference Breakdown: Mid-American (7), Atlantic Coast (6), Pac-10 (5), Big 10 (4), Big East (4), Southeastern (4), Big 12 (3), Conference USA (3), Independent (3), Mountain West (3), Western Athletic (3), Sun Belt (2).

Academic Achievement Award Winners Through the Years

1981: Duke*
1982: Notre Dame*
1983: Notre Dame*
1984: Duke & Notre Dame*
1985: Virginia*
1986: Virginia*
1987: Duke*
1988: Notre Dame*
1989: Kentucky*
1990: Duke*
1991: Notre Dame*
1992: Boston College & TCU*
1993: Duke*
1994: Duke*
1995: Boston College, Duke & Wake Forest*
1996: Boston College, Duke & Vanderbilt*
1997: Duke*
1998: Northwestern
1999: Duke
2000: Syracuse
2001: Notre Dame & Vanderbilt
2002: Northwestern
2003: Duke
2004: Boston College & Northwestern
2005: Duke & Northwestern
2006: SMU
2007: Northwestern & Notre Dame
2008: Colorado

*- Presented by the College Football Association

Most Awards:
Duke, 12; Notre Dame, 7; Boston College, 5; Northwestern, 5

Most Honorable Mentions: Virginia, 21; Notre Dame, 20; Rice, 20

For more information on the AFCA, log on to the AFCA's website at