Dec. 8, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Of the 64 Division I-A schools that are set to play in a bowl game this football postseason, Southern Miss is in the top third for their academic rates and graduation rates.
"Jeff Bower and his staff continue to recruit and sign quality student-athletes and these numbers reflect that commitment in graduating, not only our football student-athletes, but in all of our 15 intercollegiate sports," Southern Miss Athletics Director Richard Giannini said. "In addition, our Student Academic Enhancement Program, under the direction of Don Oberhelman and Stacy Breazeale, continue their extraordinary efforts once we get our student-athletes on campus."
The Golden Eagles, along with fellow Conference USA member Rice, hold the fourth highest APR (academic progress rate) towards graduation among the bowl teams. Both the Golden Eagles and Owls are at 981, bested by only leader Navy at 986, Boston College at 982 and Auburn at 981.
Southern Miss is tied for eighth along with East Carolina and TCU for the overall football student-athletes at 78. The Golden Eagles trail only Navy (98), Boston College (96), Notre Dame (95), Wake Forest (93), Nebraska (88), Florida (80) and Penn State (80).
Southern Miss' overall student-athlete GSR is equal to that of the football program at 78.
In May, the Southern Miss football team was named as one of six NCAA Division I-A programs with a graduation rate of 90 percent or better, to be honored by the American Football Coaches Association this week, as part of its annual academic achievement awards program. Joining Southern Miss is fellow Conference USA school SMU, along with Boston College, Duke, Northwestern and Notre Dame.
The honor marks the fourth-straight year that the Golden Eagles have been recognized by the AFCA, earning recognition the previous three seasons for a graduation rate of 70 percent or better.
In addition to Southern Miss and the five other schools who were honored for their high graduation rates, 23 other institutions receiving honorable mention are: Auburn, Baylor, California, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida State, Iowa, Iowa State, Maryland, Miami (Ohio), Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, Rice, Rutgers, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Troy, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.