In the spring, South Carolina coaches, led by Will Muschamp travel the state and region speaking to booster club chapters.
As you'd expect, they brag about a lot their program has done. Once centerpiece this season: The high rate players are graduating at.
The most recent numbers reflect the incoming classes from 2007 to 2010. Of that group, 98 percent graduated within six years or left in good academic standing.
That number ranks first in the SEC, ahead of Vanderbilt at 90 percent. That number is tied for fourth nationally, behind Harvard, Northwestern and Dartmouth and with Brown and Columbia (N.Y.).
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It's something coach Will Muschamp mentioned at a Spurs Up Tour stop in Anderson.
"We finished first in the SEC in graduation rate," Muschamp said. "We have finished, in the last two years, first in the country for African-American football players’ graduation rate. That says a lot about what we’re doing for our student-athletes. We have 21 different majors represented on our football team. Most schools have two. That says a lot about guys aren’t just staying eligible, guys are graduating."
The NCAA's online database does not allow for streamlined comparisons of GSR by race, but USC's for African-American players was 98 percent, well ahead of the national average of 67.
It's worth noting how transfers factor in. If a player leaves in good academic standing, they simply are removed from the pool of athletes, while in the federal rate, they count as non-graduates. USC only ranks seventh in SEC in federal graduation rate at 58 percent (only Vanderbilt is above 73).
Muschamp also came away pleased with his team's performance in the class room coming off the spring semester.
"We’ll be right at a 2.8 or 2.9 GPA cumulative as a football team," Muschamp said. "So very pleased with that… We’re doing very well academically. I don’t see any issues there. I’ve been very pleased, and I think Maria Hickman (Senior Associate AD/Academics and Student Development) is the best in the country."