THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s student athletes are graduating at some of the highest rates in the state, according to statistics released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) last week.
The Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report shows that 68 percent of Nicholls student athletes who began college in 2005 earned their degrees within six years. That’s an all-time high for Nicholls and a two-point increase over the previous year’s rate. Among Louisiana’s 11 public universities with Division 1 athletics, Nicholls has the fourth-highest overall GSR — tying with Northwestern State University and only trailing the significantly higher-funded Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University and McNeese State University.
“I am very proud of our continued success in improving the graduation rate of student athletes,” said Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president. “For Nicholls athletics to rank among the top GSRs in the state — despite the fact that we are one of the lowest-funded athletics programs — is a great accomplishment and speaks volumes about our student athletes, coaches, staff and faculty.”
Designed to more accurately predict the academic success of athletes, the GSR measures the proportion of student athletes who graduate and includes incoming transfer students, a regular occurrence in college athletics, in its calculations.
When broken down by individual sport, Nicholls reported the highest GSRs in the state and in the Southland Conference for men’s tennis (100 percent graduating) and softball (90 percent). Among Southland schools, Nicholls also ranks first in men’s cross country/track (80 percent), third in men’s basketball (71 percent) and third in volleyball (86 percent). Additionally, several Colonel teams showed increases from their previous year’s GSR, which measured the graduation rates of 2004 incoming freshmen. Men’s cross country/track improved by 20 percentage points, golf by 15, men’s basketball by eight and football by seven.
“It is no coincidence that our GSRs increased for the freshman class of 2005 — the same year that Nicholls transitioned to selective admissions and first began offering advising and tutoring services specifically designed for student athletes,” Hulbert said. “The figures show that we took the right steps in raising the academic bar, and consequently, our efforts had a positive impact on our student athletes.”
For more information on GSRs, visit web1.ncaa.org/GSRSearch