K-State No. 1 in Graduation Rate for Third Year

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State can stake claim as the Big 12 leader in all-sports graduation rate for the third straight year as the NCAA released its latest graduation rate data Wednesday.

K-State's four-class average of 67-percent, which studies freshmen classes from 1999-2000 to 2002-03, was tops in the Big 12 among all student-athletes, while the football and men's basketball programs also grabbed top honors in the league at 66-percent and 75-percent, respectively, in the same category. The honor for the football program also marked the third straight season that it has led the Big 12 in graduation rate.

"Graduating our student-athletes and providing them with a world-class experience is a top priority here at K-State," said Athletics Director John Currie. "Being ranked first in the Big 12 among all student-athletes is a tremendous testament to our student-athletes, coaches, academic staff, led by Jill Shields, and University faculty and their commitment to academic success."

The women's basketball program also turned in stellar figures, topping the list at 100-percent when looking at the most recent federal graduation rates, which is based on data from scholarship student-athletes receiving athletics aid who were designated as freshmen for the 2002-03 academic year.

Graduation success rate was also included in the data and K-State checked in at No. 2 among all student-athletes in the Big 12 at 77-percent. The GSR reflects the federal graduation rate cohort and adds those student-athletes receiving aid who entered mid-year as well as those who transferred into the institution.

"K-State student-athletes continue to thrive in the classroom while earning a world-class education," added President Kirk Schulz. "I continue to be impressed with the passion and successes of all of our students, and I am grateful to our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the K-State faculty for their commitment to excellence in the classroom."

K-State had an exceptional year in the classroom in 2008-09 as student-athletes earned a total of 433 Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll accolades, including 93 perfect 4.0 grade-point averages, while also garnering 57 Academic All-Big 12 selections.

The women's basketball team ranked 13th among all Division I institutions in grade-point average and was the only BCS program in the country to be named to the Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for the second straight season. It also placed a record eight student-athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 team.

Track had a banner year in the classroom as both the men and women were named USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Teams, while Loren Groves and Scott Sellers were named Academic All-Americans. Groves was also a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, while Sellers was honored as the Division I Outdoor Field Scholar of the Year by the USTFCCCA.

Football collected five Academic All-Big 12 selections, and two All-District picks, while Jeron Mastrud was named an Academic All-American.

The women's golf program also placed four players on the Academic All-Big 12 teams, while Abbi Sunner and Elise Houtz were also honored by the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) by being named to the All-Scholars Team. Five men's golfers and two men's basketball players were also named to the Academic All-Big 12 teams.

The equestrian team placed a season-high 46 student-athletes on the fall honor roll, as did rowing in the spring, while tennis put five of eight athletes on the spring list and also added two Academic All-Big 12 picks.

The volleyball team placed six athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 team, while the baseball program had four players on the Academic All-Big 12 teams for a second-straight year and added two CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selections.

"K-State student-athletes have consistently displayed a track record of academic excellence," said Jill Shields, Assistant Athletics Director for Student Services. "The release of the NCAA graduation rates validates this expectation of academic achievement promoted by K-State coaches, staff, and administration."