Gamecock FB Recognized For Academic Excellence

<img src= width=150 height=92 align=left>Lou Holtz, as he did so many times during his tenure at Notre Dame, has once again helped USC to reap accolades from the American Football Coaches' Association for his football teams' graduation rate. Credit goes to the Gamecock players ...

WACO, TEX. — Duke University will receive the American Football Coaches Association's 2003 Academic Achievement Award, which is presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. The school recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its football squad when all members of its freshman class of 1997-98 earned a degree.

"We are proud to receive the AFCA's Academic Achievement Award for the 11th time," Duke Head Coach Carl Franks said. "Duke has always had a strong commitment to graduating members of the student body as well as its student-athletes. Our coaching staff takes great pride in the academic success of the players, and credit also needs to be extended to our academic support system."

Duke's win is the 11th for the school, and it earned a perfect graduation rate for the fourth time. The school also earned the honor in 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1990, 1987, 1984 and 1981. Duke has also earned honorable mention honors on nine other occasions. The school has won the award or received honorable mention every year since 1986.

Thirty-one other institutions are being recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of their football players. Six of those institutions achieved a rate of 90 percent or better: Boston College, Connecticut, Northwestern, Rice, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.

Others receiving honorable mention with a rate of 70 percent or better: Ball State, Baylor, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Marshall, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Southern Methodist, Southern Mississippi, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, Tulane, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Western Michigan.

The overall graduation rate of the 102 I-A schools that responded was 59 percent, one percent less than the previous year. Fifty-one of the members responding were above the average and 51 were below the average. The median graduation rate was 59 percent, compared to 61 percent last year and 58 percent the four previous years.

The study involves the freshman class from the academic year of 1997-98, including those who entered at that time but who did not receive financial aid until after their initial year, or who transferred from another institution and subsequently received a grant-in-aid.

Most Awards: Duke has won or shared the Academic Achievement Award 11 times. Notre Dame is second with six awards. Boston College has been honored three times.

Honorable Mention: Virginia has earned honorable mention status 18 times. Notre Dame and Rice have earned honorable mention status 16 times.

Top Conference: ACC schools have been honored 75 times since the award was created in 1981. The ACC's 14 Academic Achievement Awards are the most among current Division I-A conferences. Since 1998, when the award was expanded to include all Division I-A conferences, Big Ten schools have been honored 28 times, with Northwestern winning the award twice.

All-Time Academic Achievement Award Recipients*
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

*- Presented by the College Football Association from 1981-97.

2003 Breakdown by Conference
Big Ten: 5
Big 12: 5
Mid-American: 5
Atlantic Coast: 4
Conference USA: 4
Big East: 3
Southeastern: 2
Western Athletic: 2
Pacific 10: 1
Independents: 1

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