Nov. 24, 2014

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame has won the 2014 American Football Coaches Association Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis.

Notre Dame shares the 2014 award with Duke University, Northwestern University and Stanford University–with all four institutions recording a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2007.

The Academic Achievement Award will be presented Jan. 12 at the President’s Kickoff Luncheon at the 2015 AFCA Convention in Louisville.

This marks the ninth time Notre Dame has won the award. Notre Dame previously won the award in 2009 (shared with Miami, Fla.), 2007 (shared with Northwestern), 2001 (shared with Vanderbilt), 1991, 1988, 1984 (shared with Duke), 1983 and 1982.

Notre Dame also has received honorable mention recognition in 24 other years the award has been presented. The University of Virginia also has merited honorable mention recognition 24 times, with Notre Dame and Virginia ranking atop that listing.

This year’s award marks the seventh time the NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and the AFCA. Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in the GSR cohort, and a federal graduation rate of 75 percent or better.

Sixty-one other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes, with 13 of those institutions achieving a GSR rate of 90 percent or better.

The AFCA award for Notre Dame follows the October announcement of GSR numbers in which Notre Dame ranked first among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision institutions with its 99 graduation rate for all student-athletes entering between 2004 and 2007. In those same rankings Notre Dame also stood first among male student-athletes (98), female student-athletes (100) and black student-athletes (96). Twenty of Notre Dame’s 22 individual athletics programs produced 100 GSR scores.

The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.

The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees.

Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.

AFCA Academic Achievement Award Winners Through the Years
1981: Duke*
1982: Notre Dame*
1983: Notre Dame*
1984: Duke and Notre Dame*
1985: Virginia*
1986: Virginia*
1987: Duke*
1988: Notre Dame*
1989: Kentucky*
1990: Duke*
1991: Notre Dame*
1992: Boston College and TCU*
1993: Duke*
1994: Duke*
1995: Boston College, Duke and Wake Forest*
1996: Boston College, Duke and Vanderbilt*
1997: Duke*
1998: Northwestern
1999: Duke
2000: Syracuse
2001: Notre Dame and Vanderbilt
2002: Northwestern
2003: Duke
2004: Boston College and Northwestern
2005: Duke and Northwestern
2006: SMU
2007: Northwestern and Notre Dame
2008: Vanderbilt
2009: Notre Dame and Miami (Fla.)
2010: Northwestern and Rice
2011: Boise State and Miami (Ohio)
2012: Northwestern and Stanford
2013: Georgia, Rice, Stanford and Tulane
2014: Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford
*- Presented by the CFA

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