Academics: Cal football, men’s basketball hit with poor graduation marks by NCAA

Cal’s football and men’s basketball team received low marks Thursday, when the NCAA released its latest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) scores.

The football team’s score was 44 percent while the basketball team was at 38 percent.

The NCAA average for FBS football programs was 71 percent, the highest ever. The men’s basketball national average was 73 percent, down one point from last year’s all-time high.

Cal athletics had an overall GSR of 78 percent, based on a four-year average for freshmen who entered school between 2003 and ’06. The NCAA national average was 82. Student-athletes are given a six-year period to graduate for purposes of the GSR.

Athletic director Sandy Barbour said the results are disappointing, but that steps already have been taken to potentially improve scores in the future.

“Although we still have a lot of work to do and have put systems in place that we believe we raise the success rate for under-achieving teams, we are proud of what we gave accomplished over the past year,” Barbour said in a statement.

“The rates we have seen with the majority of our programs shows what can be accomplished across the board. We have an obligation to deliver what our student-athletes need to excel, learn and grow in all facets of their experience at Cal and we won’t be satisfied until we reach a 100 percent level with all our sports.”

Cal football was one of just two Pac-12 schools whose GSR score dropped from a year ago. The Bears and USC both suffered a 4 percent decline.

None of the players whose graduation rates are measured in the current statistics are playing for first-year Cal football coach Sonny Dykes.

A total of 24 Cal football players earned their degrees from December 2012 through August 2013, the school reported. The team also posted its highest term GPA in five years during the spring 2013 semester, and its scores rose to the highest point in 10 years during the summer term.

“We are proud of the outstanding progress our football program has made academically in a short period of time,” Dykes said. “We look forward to a time in the near future when we will release positive academic data that will speak to our improvement.”

Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery, who arrived on campus before the 2008-09 season, noted that five of six seniors from the past three years have graduated and the other one continues to take classes toward that goal.

“A top priority for this program since this staff was formed has always and will always be for our student-athletes to complete their undergraduate degrees,” Montgomery said. “We stress this principle each day and have taken steps to ensure the continued support of each of our student-athletes both in the classroom and on the court.”

Four Cal women’s teams — lacrosse, tennis, volleyball and water polo — had percent 100 percent GSRs. Fourteen of 23 measured Cal sports had scores of 85 percent or better and nine were above 90 percent.

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Jeff Faraudo

  • joshiemac

    When it comes to academics, Cal is not below average in anything. This is totally unacceptable. This is 100% on Tedford (and Montgomery) at the moment, but it must get better now.

  • al

    Cal’s APR scores are an embarrassment! The football team sold it’s soul to the devil. Tedford let douche lupoi recruit top recruits. Normally, that would be a huge plus but these top recruits weren’t top students! Over the last several years Cal has had many football players drop out, transfer or get kicked off the team. I don’t think it’s a coincidence regarding recruiting & poor APR scores.

    Cal is one of the best universities in the world. There are many good/great schools in the U.S. EVERY school offers it’s student athletes extra assistance with their studies. There are some schools that are all about football and not much else. And there are some schools who even cheat to keep their players eligible. Honestly, I believe every school has done a little extra for its athletes. Knowing the importance of graduation rates some schools don’t exactly make it too difficult to get a degree. I’d like to think that Cal has been trying to do this right, hence the poor scores – still unacceptable!

    This season has been dogcrap for the football team & their fans. It’s a rough start for Dykes & his staff. The bar was already set low before the season but has been lowered even more. Tedford left some talent but it was all freshmen & sophomores (blueshirt & true) with little to no experience. Add a brutal schedule & an epic amount of injuries! Cal will get better. Dykes will have 3 years to turn it around. We’ve seen better QB play from a true frosh (who never would have had a chance to compete for the job under Tedford) that Cal hasn’t had since ’06. We’ve also seen the worst runing game by Cal since….hell, I can’t even recall when it was worse. The OL has been terrible. Period!

    The defense is so bad I think de la salle could hang 30 on them! I think the move to a 4-3 from a 3-4 was done a year too early. Their strength was at LB but they moved some to DL, one to safety, had a transfer, booted one, & injuries before & during the season. Now they’re short at LB. The lack of a pass rush has destroyed the DBs. They bring 4 & don’t get sacks! They can’t blitz because their coverage is so poor it’d just make it that much easier for opposing QBs. Coleman & Moala have been disappointing just like the replacement DEs who easily get pushed outside, allowing the QB ti merely step forward & run or complete a pass. They’re down to 1 starter out of 4 DBs. It’s not reassuring to see a bunch of freshmen trying to cover WRs receiving balls from good, experienced QBs. No contest.

    Dykes is well aware of the terrible APR scores & has made academics a priority – doesn’t every coach say that? I believe him, though. He even informed a few verbal commits that they should look around at aother schools because they were likely to be marginal students. I do respect this & hope it continues. If they can’t cut it in class they shouldn’t be on the field. I believe smart players do well on the field because they’re less likely to make as many mistakes.

    Lastly, remember the 5 North Carolina guys who came to Cal together? All but maynard were highly regarded recruits of 4* with Allen being a 5*. Allen left after 3 years, McCain was booted in his jr year, King is not on the team to focus on academics & I doubt maynard graduated after 2 years at Buffalo & 3 at Cal. Harris is the only one left. He came a year after the other 4 & is a blueshirt sophomore so we’ll see what happens with him.

    The future looks bright even if the current is a black hole. Go Bears?

  • Gobears49


    Nice post. Couldn’t agree more. Dykes is worth keeping around just for his improvement with the offense. Tedford’s used to put me to sleep.

    Looking forward to an article from Jeff comparing Cal’s per game offensive production to that of Tedford last year. Haven’t checked myself but I think it is a lot better.

    Can’t really say anything nice for the defense except that they have a lot of fight in them and don’t give up. Hopefully, we won’t have the same injury problems next year and will have better depth.

  • SteveNTexas

    Is the argument that compared to many schools, our classes may be harder or the degree more difficult to obtain schools valid or is that elitist garbage?

  • Bob Warner

    Good football players are not always good students. Duh ! I’m not sure why this is so difficult to figure out. Cal has high standards and there is no place to hide academically. File your class list after two weeks of a ten week tri-mester, after learning the professor grades on the bell curve! You need 12 credit hours to be eligible for competition. You fall behind in a class but can’t drop it because that would make you inelegible. You manage to find a class or two that you can pass but the downward spiral continues as you attempt to progress toward a degree. Eventually your athletic eligibility is done, but the light at the end of the degree tunnel is very distant. Your scholarship runs out and you move back home, get a job. When the final graduation rates are disclosed, Cal is last in the conference!

    To hold Jeff Tedford or Mike Montgomery accountable for graduation rates sets them up to fail ! The academic standards at Berkeley are the reason for the low graduation rates. Is this such a SHOCK?

    The other schools in the conference, although fine institutions, aren’t as difficult. That is what the graduation rate statistic represents. This should not be a surprise to anyone!

    The answer is to develop a degree program for athletes. I know many will say that would degrade the University. It would be a bold step to address the inequality amoung the PAC 12 schools and their academic standards! Or be content with the status qou !