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Football and Hoops Graduation Success Rates

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Earlier today, the national Graduation Success Rates for the 2003-2006 classes were released, and USC had a 53% mark in football and 55% in men's basketball.  While those figures are disappointing, USC senior associate athletic director Dr. Magdi El Shahawy, who oversees Student-Athlete Academic Services, points out that some context is necessary when interpreting the data.

El Shahawy notes that the rates are based on the 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 classes, which in football experienced great success on the field.  With that success came a high number of players who were NFL draft picks and many of those players left school without completing their degree requirements in order to begin their NFL pursuits.  Twenty-one of those players made it into the NFL, with 10 still active.  Three of those players did return to USC to finish their degrees, but they graduated after the six-year window expired that would have allowed them to be included in the GSR rating.  Some other players, like Chauncey Washington and Stafon Johnson, have returned to USC recently to work on finishing up their degrees.  And El Shahawy said another 17 football players from the 2003-06 era are expected to finish their degrees at some point in the near future.

Like football, men's basketball was also effected by a number of players who went pro before obtaining their degrees, and given the small roster size, a few cases can shift the percentage dramatically.

El Shahawy notes that once the 2006 class clears off the graduation rates, the numbers should trend significantly upwards .

"We are committed to excellence in the classroom for all of our student-athletes, and we are very proud of the top-end GSRs posted by most of our teams," said El Shahawy.  "The football and men's basketball GSR numbers are disappointing when viewed simply as a percentage rate and without an understanding of why they are not as high as we would like.  Certainly, those figures are not a reflection of the current academic state of our overall athletic program."

Every Trojan women's team and the men's golf, swimming, tennis and water polo teams all had GSRs  of at least 80%.

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