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Dec. 19, 2007
The Penn State football team has the highest Graduation Success Rate among the eight Big Ten squads competing in 2007-08 bowl games and ranks in the top 10 nationally among all bowl teams, according to data compiled by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
Dr. Richard Lapchick is the founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, which is housed at the University of Central Florida.
Among students entering Penn State in the fall of 1997 through 2000, Nittany Lion football student-athletes earned a Graduation Success Rate of 76 percent, easily above the Division I national GSR average of 67 percent and tied for No. 9 among all 64 bowl teams.
African-American members of the Penn State football team also earned a GSR of 76 percent, to rank No. 8 among all bowl squads, and significantly higher than the national average of 57 percent.
In addition, the Nittany Lions' most recent Academic Progress Rate of 960 ranks No. 13 among the teams playing in the 2007-08 post-season.
Penn State leads all eight Big Ten teams in bowl games in all three categories. Among African-American team members, the Nittany Lions' GSR of 76 percent is 15 points higher than the next closest Big Ten school.
For the second consecutive year, the Nittany Lions posted the second highest GSR among all teams in the Big Ten Conference, trailing only Northwestern.
In the Nov. 11 USA Today Coaches poll, Boston College (93) was the only team in the Top 25 with a higher GSR than Penn State. The Nittany Lions were No. 22 in the poll, but dropped out the following week.
The Graduation Success Rate data includes only student-athletes receiving athletic aid and is generated from four years of graduation data. The GSR data also includes student-athlete transfers to Penn State that receive athletic aid.
Student-athletes from 21 of Penn State's 25 teams earned a GSR at or above 80 percent according to the latest NCAA data. Ten Penn State squads earned a Graduation Success Rate of 100 percent. (Track and field and cross country are counted as one sport).
The outstanding classroom performance is the latest success in a long line of academic achievement for members of Coach Joe Paterno's program, who consistently are near the top nationally in graduation success:
* Junior tackle Gerald Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio) was selected a 2007 first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, giving Penn State at least one Academic All-American® in each of the past six years.
During Paterno's tenure, Penn State has had 36 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® (27 first team), 15 National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes and 18 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners. Penn State ranks fourth among all Division I-A institutions in Academic All-America® football honorees.
* The Nittany Lions had 19 Academic All-Big Ten football honorees this fall, improving their conference-leading total to 209 from 1993-2007.
* Five members of the 2007 squad had graduated prior to the season and six others are on schedule to graduate on Saturday.
Penn State (8-4) will face Texas A&M (7-5) in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Nittany Lions' second Alamo Bowl appearance is Saturday, Dec. 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET in the The Alamodome in San Antonio. Penn State will be playing in its 34th bowl game under Paterno, who is the all-time leader in bowl appearances and wins (22-10-1 record).
The Valero Alamo Bowl will be Paterno's 500th game as the Nittany Lions' head coach.