Wildcats No. 1.......Again

"Graduating our student-athletes and providing them with a world-class experience remains our top priority here at K-State and I am extremely proud of the academic performance represented by these figures," said Athletics Director John Currie. "Leading the Big 12 in all-sports graduation rate for the fourth straight year is a credit to the dedication of our student-athletes, academic commitment of our coaches and the outstanding work of the academic services staff and K-State's faculty members." "Our University places a great emphasis on achievement in sports and academics," added Currie. "It ultimately comes down to the teamwork between our coaching staff and the willingness of our student-athletes to make the determination that he, or she, is going to succeed academically." Kansas State and Iowa State ranked No. 1 in "Four-Class Average" with a 67 percent graduation rate. That figure is above the general KSU student population graduation rate of 59 percent.  The Wildcats' 81 percent "Graduation Success Rate" edged Missouri at 80 percent for top honors. Schools in the lower end of the league had percentages in the low-60s and high-50s. The statistics are of those Wildcat student-athletes from the classes of 2000-01 through 2003-04. K-State's GSR led the league in men's and women's golf (100 percent), men's cross country/track (83 percent) and baseball (81 percent), while the Four-Class Rate included football (71 percent), which ranked No. 1.  The scores by both golf programs and the men's track and field team marked the second time in the last three years that each of these programs garnered a No. 1 ranking among their Big 12 counterparts. The Four-Class percentage is based on data from scholarship student-athletes who were designated as freshmen and the number of those who graduated within six years of the initial full-time enrollment.  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. In addition, the GSR will subtract student-athletes from the calculation who are considered allowable exclusions - those who die, or become permanently disabled, those who leave school to join the armed forces, or attend a church mission - as well as those who would have been academically eligible had they returned to school. Of the lofty league-leading figures, Associate Athletic Director for Student Services / Senior Woman Administrator Jill Shields said, "From the point we begin a recruiting process, our coaches do a great job of creating an expectation of graduating our student-athletes. A high percentage of our student-athletes are from the Midwest who understand the value of a college education and come from families who value a college degree." Shields added, "We have a great support system in place, our academic counselors do a great job, and then our student-athletes have taken advantage of the extra support resources that we are providing." Currie agreed by saying, "It is fun to see student-athletes taking advantage of the opportunities we're providing. Not only are they competing at an extremely high level in front of our fans, but they are also choosing to manage their time away from sports and take advantage of the academic opportunities. We want all of our student-athletes to graduate, and when they don't, we always wonder what we could have done differently, but it is ultimately up to the student-athlete to go to class and do the work. We're proud that such a high percentage of our student-athletes are doing that." While these statistics are from K-State teams in 2000-01 to 2003-04, Wildcat sports teams are continuing to excel in the classroom. In 2009-10,K -State had 421 student-athletes make the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll, which included 97 perfect 4.0 students. Wildcats also earned 69 Academic All-Big 12 selections, which included 21 from track and field, 13 from football, nine from cross country, seven from baseball, four each from women's basketball, volleyball and men's golf, three from women's tennis and two each from men's basketball and women's golf. Four Wildcat student-athletes also earned a total of five Academic All-America accolades in 2009-10, including Jack Sachse in both cross country and track and field, Jeron Mastrud in football, JuliAnne Chisholm in volleyball and Ashley Sweat in women's basketball.