Dec. 7, 2017

Waco, Texas – The Virginia football program is one of seven schools honored today (Dec. 7) by the American Football Coaches Association with its Academic Achievement Award. The seven schools recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of their freshman football student-athlete class of 2010. This marks the third time UVA has received the AFCA’s top academic honor. The Cavalier program was also recognized (by the then College Football Association) in 1985 and 1986.

The other six programs honored are Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee State, Northwestern, Utah and Utah State. This is Northwestern’s 10th honor. Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee State, Utah and Utah State are receiving the award for the first time. The award will be presented during the Honors Luncheon on Monday, Jan. 8 at the 2018 AFCA Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The Virginia program has been recognized by the AFCA or CFA on 25 other occasions for graduating 75 percent or more of its football student-athletes.

This year’s award marks the 10th time the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and the AFCA. Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA’s Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, with at least 15 students in the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.

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.

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.

Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.