Lincoln - The Nebraska football program was one of 42 programs recognized by the American Football Coaches Association on Wednesday for its performance in the classroom.
The AFCA awards recognizes programs that graduate more than 75 percent of their football student-athletes, based on the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR). It is the12th time the Husker program has been recognized by the AFCA for its academic achievement, while Nebraska was one of only three Big 12 schools recognized by the AFCA in 2010.
Northwestern and Rice shared the Academic Achievement Award, as both programs recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of their freshman football student-athlete class of 2003.
Forty-two other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Thirteen of those institutions - Air Force, Army, Boston College, BYU, Duke, Iowa, Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Navy, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia - achieved a rate of 90 percent or better. The remaining 29 institutions are: Arizona State, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Auburn, Boise State, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Southern Mississippi, SMU, Stanford, Temple, TCU, Texas Tech, UNLV, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest and Washington.
The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes, which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for mid-year enrollees.
Nebraska's 2010 football senior class already features six graduates, while eight others are on track to have their degrees before this month's Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Twenty two members of the senior class are expected to complete their degrees by the end of the 2011 spring semester. Nebraska's exhausted eligibility graduation rate among all sports is at an impressive 95 percent.
The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.
2010 Conference Breakdown of Winners and Honorable Mentions: ACC- 6, Mountain West- 6, Big Ten- 5, SEC- 5, Big East- 4, Big 12- 3, Conference USA- 3, Independents- 3, MAC- 3, Pac-10- 3, WAC- 2, Sun Belt- 1.