Football: Grad rate low in conference

Cal ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in the latest Graduation Success Rates released today by the NCAA. Of the football players that began their careers at Cal in 2004, 54 percent received their degree. The only school with a worse mark in the confernce is Arizona, at 48 percent.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Cal Sipe

    To me, this is far worse than a 5-7 season. There is no excuse. This is not acceptable at Cal and coach Tedford should be held accountable.

  • miked

    haven’t the pumpers pitched this as a one of Tedfords positives? Is there more to the story as to why the rates are so low? Is this a big dropoff or part of a declining trend?

  • calfbfan

    Before everyone freaks out, it should be kept in mind, these scores are from 2004, 2 years after Tedford was hired. He’s had a lot of time since then to implement his Academic Gameplan (TM), and current GSR’s should be higher.

  • abe

    Calfbfan, how many years does it take to implement the Academic Gameplan? for the aggregate number for the last 7 years to be this low, there must not have been much improvement as of late either. This is bad news, no way of spinning this any other way.

  • rollonubears

    I’d like to see the numbers since 2006, the first graduation year with all tedford recruits. I also want anyone drafted in the first or second round taken out, as well as anyone who transferred to another college. All of these things skew the stats. And we have a lot of players who went early via the draft because they were amazing. How many players separate 11th from 3rd over that period, anyway?

  • rollonubears

    Oops. My mistake. This is taking into account all tedford kids. It’s just one graduation year, though. Something seems odd with these data, though.

  • southseasbear

    Yes, the data does seem odd. Which players are involved? How many transferred and how many departed early for the draft (to pursue a career that pays millions of dollars)?

  • xultaif

    Back to back lousy grad rate years. And this is the 2004 recruiting class, not the 2004 graduating class. It’s pathetic. Tedford’s reputation as a coach with solid academics is a fraud.

  • Eric

    Last year I made a big stink about Cal football players making the all-academic team was embarassing, with the Kool Aid Drinkers doing their best to defend everything Midas touches. This is just of the same folks. If early draftees are skewing the numbers, that just means Tedford has had far better NFL prospects during his reign, and yet the football record has been trending down. Can’t have it both ways.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    What is even more alarming is that every effort has been made so that the football (and basketball) players can stay eligible. I have been saying for many years now that Tedford brought over from Eugene the practise of enrolling players into “gimmee” type academic programs. Just look at how many of your players since Tedford arrived have majored in Sociology, Art, American Studies (what is that but the study of baseball, Andy Warhol art and grandma’s apple pie?),and Ethnic Studies. The top of that list is Social Welfare. How many of your players over that period of time majored in Engineering, Pre Med, Life Sciences, Physics, etc? This is nothing but a shell game to keep players eligible. Promise the kid the chance to go to the “No 1 P-U” in the country but railroad him into the kind of study programs that keep them eligible to play. Lavelle Hawkings was quoted as saying that his studies at UCB were no more challenging than at CCSF.

    Now before this blog turns ugly with all of the ad hominems which will be directed my way why don’t some of you do your own research. How many players from your 2004-2011 rosters took these majors compared to those who majored in Engineering, pre-med, etc. And while you are at it, check out your basketball program. If you think Tedford had perfected this practise your basketball coaches were masters of the universe at it.

    When your fans make the statement (or similar ones) “If I was a football player I would rather play for UCB than ______________ because of the prestigious degree I will receive compared to others” I call bogus on that thinking. Academics is nothing more than a game to keep players eligible. You are no different than anyone else and that includes our friends in the SEC.

  • David

    Please note that our Social Welfare program ranks in the top-ten.

  • aubear

    Please remember that anyone who leaves early for the NFL (DeShawn, Marshawn, Aaron, etc.) counts against this.

  • covinared

    Moren: don’t bash the liberal arts. One should go to college to learn how to think, not just get training for a job that most likely won’t be the one one spends his career on anyway. Social welfare- what could be more a more honorable focus than improving society as a whole? What about “speech communications”?

  • MoreNCsarecoming


    Honor, learning how to think, and improving society is not the point. That may well be what is true for the general student body but the reason why there is a plethora of football/basketball players taking those classes is because of eligibility. Those are easy programs.

    If improving society was the crux then enroll them as architects and engineers.

  • thehawkse7en

    Aha, the real reason that Mike Stoops was fired comes out!

  • Kevin

    You’re talking about one of the largest state schools in the country with the least amount of funding and the worst faculty-to-student ratio. Oh, it also happens to be the toughest public academic institutions in the world.

    And you expect kids who barely make the academic cut to come in and make grades competing with others who spent much of their high school years studying as much as these guys trained athletically and played football?

    School needs ATHLETES to win football games. Not students. Are you going to recruit kids with good grades and hope that they turn into good football players? NO, idiots. You recruit players hoping they do enough to get by in a damn difficult school.

    Are you going to scold every junior that leaves early because he didn’t graduate? Are you going to call for Tedford’s head because a kid leaving early will drop his graduation ratings?

    Are you guys SERIOUSLY THIS stupid? Or your logic just completely clouded by your misdirected anger towards the team’s recent struggles?

    Criticize Jeff for 5-7 and the blow out losses. Fine. Fair. Do me a favor, though. Go look back at the recruiting classes that make up our junior and senior class and I can count on ONE hand the number of impact players on the team right now. Let the young guys get older in a couple of years and judge him, then.

    By the way, those who want Tedford gone, who’s going to want to come to Cal and deal with hippy protesters who delayed a stadium project 3 years, tough academic standards, and a fan base who claims they have passion but is so unwilling to spend and flood the blogs and forums with cowardly rants?

  • Ben

    Things to note after looking over the data:

    The 54% is just one class, the players that came into the program in 2004.

    The classes that came in before Tedford generally graduated about 40-50%

    Tedford has shown, until the 2004 class’ data, consistent improvement.

    The 2003 class graduated 65% which is good for 3rd in the Pac 10. I didnt check the data for Utah/Colorado for those years.

  • Lady Bruin

    We can make excuses all day (“the statistics don’t reflect actual academic progress” “some Holmoe recruits are in there” “Cal is a tough school”, all of which are true. However, all Pac 12 teams are being judged by the same measures, albeit flawed, and Cal is second to last. This is NOT GOOD no matter how you look at it. I love Cal and respect coach Tedford, but he needs to explain this as does Sandy Barbour. It’s one thing to be mediocre, but to do so while lagging in the classroom is disgraceful.

  • MoreSanctionsComing

    Please don’t engage the Moren as if she has anything constructive to add to this or any other conversation. This troll exists only to bash Cal in any way possible.

    The only reply anyone should ever make to this troll is to remind her that she is not wanted here.

  • steve

    no i think we need to demand why our players aren’t succeeding. And to be honest, you all know USC has had more entrances in the NFL, AS WELL AS MORE TRANSFERS (LIKE WHEN YOUR SCHOOL CHEATS AND THEY WANT TO NOT BE PUNISHED FOR IT). Why do we assume it’s just the data? Why don’t we start pointing the finger at Tedford? Can someone bring other reports? And this:

    I’d like to see the numbers since 2006, the first graduation year with all tedford recruits. I also want anyone drafted in the first or second round taken out, as well as anyone who transferred to another college. All of these things skew the stats. And we have a lot of players who went early via the draft because they were amazing. How many players separate 11th from 3rd over that period, anyway?


  • fatoski

    How do these graduation rates compare with the overall student body that enrolled at CAL in 2004. I will bet they are comparable.

  • calfbfan

    Abe: I initially only took a quick gander and misunderstood that information; thought it was for the class of 2004 (as in graduates in 04). In any case, how do transfers, NFL draftees, and walk-ons affect these numbers? For reference, here is the 2004 recruiting class that signed LOI’s:

    2004 California Football Recruits
    Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown High School/JC
    Deemer, Bryan OL 6-4 300 Lodi, Calif. Delta College
    Faaeteete, Sekeli ATH 6-1 212 San Leandro, Calif. San Leandro
    Gibson, John OL 6-4 250 Stockton, Calif. St. Mary’s
    Hicks, Bernard DB 6-1 200 Fresno, Calif. Edison
    Johnson, Justin DE 6-3 245 Daly City, Calif. San Francisco City College
    Jordan, Robert WR 5-11 160 Hayward, Calif. Hayward
    Larkins, Virdell DB 5-11 185 Hercules, Calif. Oakland Tech
    Longshore, Nathan QB 6-5 230 Canyon Country, Calif. Canyon
    Lonie, David P-K 6-6 215 Palm Beach, Australia Ellsworth (Iowa) College
    Lynch, Marshawn RB 5-11 200 Oakland, Calif. Oakland Tech
    Mack, Alex OL 6-5 270 Santa Barbara, Calif. San Marcos
    Malele, Noris OL 6-4 295 Carson, Calif. Carson
    Mbakogu, Phillip DE 6-3 260 Hayward, Calif. Hayward
    Simmons, Marlin LB 6-1 210 Compton, Calif. Lynwood
    Summers, Frank FB 5-11 230 Castro Valley, Calif. Skyline
    Teofilo, Chet DE 6-3 220 Chula Vista, Calif. Hilltop
    Tepper, Mike OL 6-6 312 Cypress, Calif. Pacifica
    Williams, Worrell LB 6-0 245 Sacramento, Calif. Grant Union

  • xultaif

    One of the major reasons why people want to keep Tedford is because he claims he graduates players. If he doesn’t do this what’s left?

    As for the “who’s going to want to come to Cal” stupidity, how many teams can offer $3 mil a year and new facilities?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    To #16 aka AdvisingBear on BI.

    You are the one who has the most to protect around here. That’s a nice way to duck the issues don’t you think? At least you can offer something by way of a rebuttal. That is if you have one.

  • I am not surprised or angry with these “results”. THE University of California is a helluva school, and by that I mean it is VERY VERY difficult to graduate on time, if at all. I am not surprised at all that many many “student”-athletes are not graduating from Cal on time just like I was not too surprised when I myself dropped out of Cal because I was getting crushed academically. I did return and did graduate but it certainly was not a “traditional” 4-year university experience. Cal is BY FAR the most difficult school academically in the Pac-12. I went to UW for a couple of years after I dropped out of Cal and I now call it “u-duh”. The math classes at UW probably involved about 1/3 the amount of time/effort to get a good grade than at Cal. And UW is one of the more respected academic institutions on the West Coast. I can only imagine the “difficulty” of classes at ASU or u$c or OSU. I’d say a Social Welfare degree from Cal is about as difficult to get as a Nuclear Engineering degree is to get from $c, if they even offer that. Seriously.
    If anything, this report just verifies that Cal is still an incredibly rigorous and difficult University to graduate from. Make me even prouder that I did end up going back and getting that diploma. And am I a little smug about the other pac-12 schools’ academics vs Cal’s? You bet I am. Go Bears!

  • discdude

    People, don’t get your panties all in a bunch, the GSR cohort is from 2001 to 2004 and includes ALL recruits from those years. Thus, it includes 2 recruiting classes from Holmoe (maybe more with early commits for 2003). It makes no accounting for those that transferred or left early to NFL. It’s just a number.

    The APR is a far better measure, here’s 2010:

    Stanford 977
    OSU 959
    UCLA 956
    USC 952
    Arizona 951
    Cal 949
    Oregon 941
    ASU 940
    UW 946
    WSU 925

    Pretty much WSU is the only one that is outside a small range.

    Move along, nothing to see here except trolls…

  • discdude

    Good points BSB. Further, Stanfurd is self selecting, they have a higher bar to get in, they’ll have higher grad rates. That’s fairly obvious. I have a sibling who went there, it’s near impossible to not graduate. It would be interesting to see the NCAA put up the overall school grad rates, the latest one I can find for 4 years at Cal is about 61%, not much above football. Interestingly (and this makes sense when you consider that many students leave and come back, as you mentioned), the 6-year rate is close about 88%. Almost everyone I know in engineering and sciences went 4.5 years, it’s that difficult, and thus would be included in the 2nd stat.

  • CalBearister99

    Stanfurd is self-selecting because a ham sandwich could graduate in four years if it were admitted. Unimpressed. Go Bears.

  • Mr. B

    @ Discdude

    Very good points about expanding the time horizon, and seeing the numbers go up. I finished CAL in 96, and back then it was common to take 4.5 or even 5 years to graduate, just b/c it was so damn hard getting classes sometimes. I can only imagine what it is like now, seems as tho 5 or even 6 years is the norm.

    And, re: Stanfurd’s self-selection and guaranteed graduation, they have this neat thing where one can take a final, see one’s grade and then retroactively drop the course. All without the grade being oficially recorded, or even suffering the indignity of an Incomplete on the transcript. You get what you pay for, I guess.

    @ BlakeStreetBear your comeback story reminds me of Kevin Johnson, the CAL hoops player (from 83 to 87) who is now mayor of Sacramento. I remember he came back to walk with my class in 96, so it took him 13 years to graduate.= and earn his Poli Sci degree.

    Point being, in everyone’s eyes, KJ is a success. Yet according to these GSR stats, he is a failure. Stupid statistics.

  • MoragaBear

    Gibson, Mbakogu and Simmons were early injury retirements. Larkins and Hicks left the program for personal issues. Summers had a learning disability and he found out real early that Cal was just too much for him. Lynch declared early. Not sure if Forsett graduated before going pro but I wouldn’t be surprised if he still has a few units to wrap up.

    Even leaving Forsett in as a grad (not sure) and taking out the three early injury retirements, the two that left the program for personal issues, a learning disabilities transferee that was almost immediate and Lynch coming out early, Cal graduated, 10 of the remaining 11 players.

    Lots of conclusion-jumping here to suit people’s agendas.

  • TipsyBear

    All Cal can do, including Tedford, is give their students the knowledge and the tools for success. What that student chooses to do with that is up to them. Unless you make the academics a joke, no school or coach can gaurentee or make someone graduate from Cal. Students drop out all the time, let alone select football players with a rigorous athletic schedule and mediocre grades from high school (AKA bad study habits). To say you graduated from Cal if a huge accomplishment no matter what your major.

  • BlueNGold

    Moron should realize that the reason for this blog turning ugly with ad hominem attacks on him/her/it is the insistence on posting opinions about things of which you have no knowledge whatsoever. You have never been a student at Cal, and certainly not a student athlete there. You know nothing about how easy or difficult any program or class is, because you have never been enrolled in them. And you certainly don’t know anything about why any particular student decides to enroll any any particular class or major program. Further, your comment about athletes being engineering or pre-med majors is laughable. What percentage of all D-I NCAA school athletes enroll in those majors? Do you even know? If not, your opinions about those who do not are really worthless, not to mention rather silly.