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AB.05.01

UPDATE ON THE ACADEMICS OF STUDENT ATHLETES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

A program of the Academic Progress and Eligibility Committee

A Faculty Senate Committee and

Division of Intercollegiate Athletics

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History of the Academic Review System (ARS)

In April 1992, the Athletic Board adopted the Academic Review System (ARS) to evaluate the “academic health” of the intercollegiate teams at the University of Illinois. The Academic Review System was initiated in the 1992-1993 academic year. This system sets out specific guidelines for academic performance and evaluations. These criteria are: 1) All team members must earn an average 2.25 GPA for the semester. 2) All scholarship student-athletes must earn at least an average 2.25 GPA for the semester. 3) 80% of the team must earn at least a 2.0 GPA for the semester. An important component of this system is continual oversight of the academic performance of student-athletes. The following report is a summary of the analyses done for fall 2003 and spring 2004 semesters.

Fall 2003 and Spring 2004 Academic Performance: A Comparison

Grade Point Averages

Before the implementation of the Academic Review System, the average grade point average for all student athletes was 2.79. In the fall 2003, student-athletes had a combined GPA of 3.000 compared to a 3.167 for the general student body. In the spring semester of 2004, student-athletes had a combined GPA of 3.024 compared to a 3.198 for the general student body. In the fall 2003 term, 9 out of 19 teams achieved GPA’s at or above the 3.0 mark. During the spring 2004 term, 12 out of 19 teams achieved team GPA’s of 3.0 or above.

During the fall 1991 semester the cumulative GPA for male student-athletes’ was 2.72. In the fall 2003 semester, male student-athletes’ achieved a GPA of 2.751. In the spring 2004 semester, male student-athletes’ achieved a GPA of 2.795. A GPA of 2.89 was reported for the female student-athletes for the fall 1991, while female student-athletes’ performed at a 3.215 GPA level in the fall 2003 term and a 3.255 GPA level for the spring 2004 term.

During the fall 1991 semester, 43.22% of all student-athletes achieved a 3.0 or better GPA. In the fall 2003 semester, 52% of student-athletes achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better and during the spring 2004 semester, 52% of student-athletes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. These athletes represented all 19 varsity sports on campus. In addition, twenty-three student-athletes, in the spring, and eighteen student-athletes in the fall, achieved a perfect grade point average of 4.0.

Although many factors influence grade point averages, credit may be attributed to the Academic Review System for its role in positively impacting the academic performance of student-athletes a the University of Illinois. The value of the implementation of the ARS is apparent in the increased academic performance of both men and women student-athletes in the period since the beginning of the ARS in the fall 1992 semester.

Graduation Rates

In the “Official NCAA Graduation Rates Report” for the years 2003 and 2004, information is reported on all undergraduates at the University of Illinois, as well as all student-athletes who received athletics aid upon initial enrollment.

The 2003 report contains information on students entering the university in 1996. The information in the 2004 report pertains to students entering in 1997.

For comparison, two different measures of graduation rates will be presented in this report: (1) freshman-cohort graduation rate, and (2) exhausted eligibility rate. Within the freshman-cohort graduation rate data are two separate measures. One measure consists of a 4-year class average, the other measures graduation rates of the freshman who enter in a specific year and graduate within 6 years of initial enrollment.

To effectively study the graduation trends, the 4-year class average will be reported for 2003, and for 2004, the graduation rates of those students entering in 1996-1997 will be reported.

The freshman-cohort graduation rate is calculated only for those student-athletes who entered the University of Illinois on athletic aid and graduated from the University of Illinois within the six years of enrollment. The freshman-cohort graduation rate does not take into account any student-athlete who was not on athletic aid upon enrollment, or student-athletes who have transferred to another institution and graduated.

2003 NCAA Graduation Rates Report (1996 Cohort)

All Students Student-Athletes

Men Women Total Men Women Total

Freshman cohort 77% 83% 80% 57% 72% 63%

(students entering in 1996-1997)

Exhausted Eligibility NA NA NA 88%

2004 NCAA Graduation Rates Report (1997 Cohort)

All Students Student-Athletes

Men Women Total Men Women Total

Freshman cohort 79% 83% 81% 66% 79% 71%

(students entering in 1997-1998)

Exhausted Eligibility NA NA NA 89%

For those student-athletes who completed their athletic eligibility at the University of Illinois, the graduation rate for 2003 and 2004 was 88% and 89% respectively. Information regarding student-athletes, who did not complete their eligibility at the University of Illinois, is not available in the NCAA Graduation Rate Report. If a student-athlete initially enrolls at the University of Illinois, and is on an athletics aid, this student is included in the freshman cohort regardless of whether the student transfers to another institution.