When it comes to big-time college football, more and more of the athletes are completing their degrees and graduating. But that same trend is not seen at lower levels.
The NCAA released federal graduation rate data showing that in 2009, 63% of FBS football players and 62% of FCS football players would go on to graduate. In 2017, those rates were up to 78% and 76% respectively. In FBS, the graduation rate was relatively unchanged in the seven years previous to 2009, ranging from 63% to 67%.
But the same improvements have not been seen at lower levels. In 2009, 53% of Division II football players went on to graduate. That rate has fell to 51% this year and a 51% average over the last five years. Division III football players also had a 51% graduation rate in 2017.
In FBS, the biggest gain has been among black athletes. Over the last 15 years, black players saw their graduation rate increase from 53% in 2002 to 73% in 2017. During that same period, the graduation rate of white players saw a more modest increase from 76% to 87%.
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