Sooners graduated only 33 percent of players

Updated: December 24, 2003, 11:28 AM ET
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- When it comes to graduation rates, Southern California is the clear-cut winner over LSU and Oklahoma .

In a study of graduation rates of the 56 bowl teams released Monday, USC easily beat out the other two national title contenders.

The Trojans graduated 61 percent of their football players in the years studied, compared to 40 percent for LSU and 33 percent for Oklahoma.

The numbers are an average for the freshman classes that entered school from 1993-94 to 1996-97. Students are given six years to graduate, but athletes who transfer -- even if they are in good academic standing -- count against a school.

"If there were a Top 10 ranking for graduation rates among bowl teams, Northwestern and Boston College would have played for the national championship," said Richard Lapchick, who authored the study for The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

Northwestern had an 83 percent graduation rate, followed by Boston College (79), Virginia (76), Tulsa (66) and Oregon (64).

The Trojans had the highest rate for any school in a BCS bowl game, while Oklahoma had the lowest. The rate for the Sooners are for classes that entered school before Bob Stoops became coach in 1999.

Arkansas and Fresno State were tied for the lowest rate at 26 percent.

Navy is the only bowl school that does not release graduation rates.

The study also looked at minority hiring practices at bowl schools. In the leadership positions of head coach, coordinators, school president, athletic director and faculty athletic representative, 94 percent of positions were held by whites. White women held 6 percent of those jobs.

UCLA's Karl Dorrell is the only minority head coach for a bowl team. There were four minority coaches among the 117 Division I-A schools this season.

There were also only eight minority coordinators, including USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow. The Trojans also had one of three black athletic directors in Mike Garrett.

"It is astonishing that only 13 of the 56 bowl schools employ any person of color in these key decision-making positions," Lapchick said. "It is no wonder why there is only one African-American head coach in a bowl game."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press