Football: 100% of 1995-96 freshmen now graduated

San Antonio, Texas - The Vanderbilt football program was named co-winner of the American Football Coaches Association's 2001 Academic Achievement Award during special ceremonies Monday at the AFCA Convention Kickoff Luncheon.

Vanderbilt and Notre Dame shared the academic achievement award on the strength of 100 percent graduate rates for its 1995-96 freshman football recruits, according to Dr. Bob Stammer, Vanderbilt Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in Athletics. Stammer accepted the award Monday from representatives of the Touchdown Club of Memphis who have sponsored the honor since 1981.

"This is a significant achievement for our football program and the Vanderbilt athletic department, and a strong affirmation of our dedication for academic excellence. Our goal will always be to lead the nation in this impor-tant category," Vanderbilt Director of Athletics Todd Turner said.

It is the second such honor for Vanderbilt. In 1996, the Commodores shared the award with Boston College and Duke.

"This is a very special honor for our student-athletes in the football program," Stammer said. "It also shows the support of two chancellors, Director of Athletics Turner, and our academic support staff. A special thank you should go to former coach (Woody) Widenhofer and his football coaching staff."

The AFCA surveyed 95 institutions in the study, finding less than one-third of its members with a graduation rate above 70 percent. Only seven universities achieved graduation rates of 90 percent or higher. The median graduation rate was 59 percent.

The study involves the freshman class from academic year 1995-96. It also included student-athletes who entered at that time but who did not receive financial aid until after their initial year, and those who transferred from another institution and subsequently received a grant-in-aid.

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