MVSU Leading The Charge In Academic Reform For HBCUs And Limited Resource Institutions





Mississippi Valley Sports Information


ITTA BENA – On Tuesday, November 15th, the NCAA released its graduation rate analysis for those Division I student-athletes entering college for the first time in 2009.  Those student-athletes continue to graduate at record high levels as measured by the Graduation Success Rate (GSR).  The GSR shows 86 percent of student-athletes who entered college in 2009 earned their degrees by 2015.  Overall, the class achieved a Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) of 66 percent.  This rate does not include transfer students, either into or out of a school, but the federal rate remains the only method of comparison between the student body and student-athletes.

As a group, student-athletes at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) outperformed the student bodies at their school by an average 12 percentage points in the four year FGR.  Student-athletes at limited resource institutions (including HBCUs) outperformed the student bodies at their schools by an average 14 percentage points in the four year FGR.

Changes to initial-eligibility standards made for the graduation class of 2010 were intended to maximize overall graduation rates while also preserving participation opportunities for minority and socioeconomic disadvantaged student-athletes.  By 2016, the group of student-athletes includes approximately 1,400 more minority and economically disadvantaged student-athletes when compared to the years prior to the changes.  About 1,300 more African-Americans have earned degrees than in the years prior to the initial-eligibility changes.

Mississippi Valley State falls in line with the national trend in regards to its graduation rates for student-athletes.  The 2009 student-athlete class has FGR of 33 percent compared to 22 percent for the general student body.  The four year class average is 39 percent compared to 25 percent for the general student body with a student-athlete GSR of 60 percent.

While the numbers continue to improve, limited resource institutions and HBCU members still need resources and programs to assist with improving the academic performance of their student-athletes.  The SWAC and MVSU are well represented in the discussions and decisions that are taking place within the NCAA leadership and college athletics model.  Dr. William Bynum, President of MVSU, was selected to lead the advisory group to the NCAA Division I Committee on Academics and Mrs. Dianthia Ford-Kee, Athletics Director of MVSU, serves on the NCAA Division I Management Council.

The NCAA and Division I Committee on Academics have created several ways to provide that assistance including the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Programs (AASP) which provides both single and multiyear comprehensive grants aimed at improving student-athlete success while helping schools meet the academic requirements of Division I membership;  A comprehensive educational program designed for administrators and tailed to individual campuses; Beginning in 2019-20, a portion of Division I revenue will be distributed to member schools based on the academic achievements of student-athletes.

MVSU has utilized being selected in 2014 to receive one of the NCAA AASP multiyear grants for $900,000 to create dedicated space, staff and technology support for its student-athletes.  This past year, MVSU saw 144 student-athletes named to the SWAC All-Academic Team.  Enhancements from the grant are also utilized on campus with the instillation of Wi-Fi on university buses that are used for student travel.  As MVSU continues to develop its academic support program for student-athletes, the department looks forward to creating programs and services that will only help to improve the graduation rates of its student-athletes.

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