Re-alignment series: Academic performance of athletes per GSR puts Big 12 on top, again.

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As conferences held press conferences to welcome new members, it quickly became part of the process to recognize the academic reputations of those universities.

That’s a good thing as it re-affirms what should be a central mission for athletics departments… graduating their student-athletes.

Historically, the measurement for academic success has been the federal government-reported student-athlete graduation rate. In recent years, the NCAA has introduced and placed an even greater emphasis on a metric called the Graduation Success Rate.

The GSR was developed at the request of university presidents, who wanted to more accurately measure today’s more mobile college students. The GSR adjusts for student-athletes, who left school early to enter professional ranks, and transfers. It’s a more meaningful measure than the Fed Grad Rate.

In the most-recent GSR data, the Big 12’s incoming members (TCU and West Virginia) have the highest average rate and both schools registered a mark of at least 80%.

Here is the breakdown in order of conference average rate:

1.    Big 12 (82.5% avg.) – TCU (85%), West Virginia (80%)

2.    ACC (82%) – Syracuse (86%), Pitt (78%)

3.    SEC (77%) – Missouri (81%), Texas A&M (73%)

4.    Pac-12 (76.5%) – Utah (79%), Colorado (74%)

5.    Big East (76%) – SMU (84%), UCF (83%), Boise State (74%), San Diego State (70%) and Houston (69%)

6.    Big Ten (74%) – Nebraska (74%)

Tomorrow, in this space, we’ll review overall athletics performance using the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup finishes.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

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