The Good Word

Oct. 27, 2011

TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

It’s Homecoming at Georgia Tech. Our long-awaited showdown with Clemson is nearly upon us and the Homecoming weekend should be better than ever. A host of campus events will culminate in a Saturday night clash as our Yellow Jackets take on the 6th ranked Tigers at a sold-out Bobby Dodd Stadium. Kickoff will come shortly after 8 p.m. and is being televised by ABC.

This will be a great weekend for visiting the campus and I’m sure the tailgate parties will be in full gear. I hope all football fans and alumni take the time to enjoy the great atmosphere here on the Flats. College football provides that great opportunity to re-unite with classmates, family and friends.

Our parking lots will open at 7 a.m. for those coming to campus for activities including the Wreck Parade which begins at 8 a.m. Keep in mind that the parade will limit campus access from Fowler and 5th Streets until around 11:30. Fans coming to Tech in the morning hours are encouraged to enter off North Avenue, Tech Parkway or Hemphill Ave.

Because night games can present their own challenges, I want to urge all fans to be respectful and show the type of sportsmanship we encourage in our “Gold Standard.” Just a reminder that The Gold Standard is a campus-wide effort of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association to raise awareness of sportsmanship at all Georgia Tech athletic events by increasing positive Yellow Jacket support; creating a sense of pride in Georgia Tech venues, events, and traditions; promoting appreciation for the spirit of competition and providing a safe, healthy and respectful game day environment for all.

Have a great weekend everybody!

A Word About Academics
As many of you may have seen by now our most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rates for 2010-11 were just released by the NCAA. Overall, we are making progress. The most recent student-athlete graduation class (first enrolled in 2004) recorded a 79% single-year Graduation Success Rate. This 2004 year rate is combined with the three previous years enrollees (2003, 2002, 2001) to compile Georgia Tech’s most recent overall Student-Athlete Graduation Success Rate (GSR) which is 77%. The 2010-11 GSR score is 2% higher than last year’s GSR and is Georgia Tech’s highest recorded score since GSR’s introduction in 2005. The GSR metric is reported collectively for all student-athletes as well as by individual teams. Understandably there has been much focus on the GSR scores for football (55%) and men’s basketball (27%). While we are certainly not satisfied with these scores and are continually working hard to improve, let me assure you the numbers do not tell the whole story.

The GSR metric is a four-year average of how students performed collectively over a six-year period. GSR does not highlight individual year data or measure any recent/near term academic success. GSR basically spans a 10-year period. Also, GSR is just one metric. Another main NCAA metric is APR or Academic Progress Rate. APR is a metric established by the NCAA to measure the success or failure of collegiate athletic teams in moving student-athletes towards graduation. APR provides a “picture” of the most recent year’s academic success. Collegiate sports teams that fail to achieve an APR score of 925 – roughly equivalent to a 50% graduation rate – may be penalized with the loss of scholarships. A perfect score is 1000. APR is calculated by allocating points for eligibility and retention. Both football and men’s basketball APR are projected to continue to improve in 2010-11. Men’s basketball is projected to exceed the 925 requirement. Unfortunately, the official report will not be made available to the public until Spring 2012.

2010-11 2009-10 2008-09 2007-08
Football APR Multi-year TBA 966 967 957
MBB APR Multi-year TBA 915 908 914

Academic Support
In the last few years we have more than doubled our academic advisor head count for both of these sports. These advisors work daily with our student-athletes to provide guidance and direction with their academic endeavors, coordinate tutor support, and help with time management. Additionally, in the last few years we have enhanced an extensive, individualized tutoring program. Some quick numbers from our most recent semester: 69 total courses tutored, 150+ student-athletes tutored, 65 tutors employed, 200+ tutoring sessions per week, average 1-3 students/session. We are seeing good results from these combined efforts and this will begin to show in our related metrics in the near future.

Additionally, I will supply a few specifics for both football and men’s basketball.

FOOTBALL
Profile of our most recent GSR football class – Student-Athletes who enrolled 2004-05 23 football student-athletes enrolled in the 2004-05 school year.
• Thirteen graduated within six years.
• Three left early and were eligible if they had stayed in school. Some went to the NFL and some transferred. These three student-athletes are removed from GSR calculation. They basically don’t count for or against the GSR score.
• Seven did not graduate from GT within the six-year window.
Thus our single-year GSR = 13/20 = 65% for most recent class (2004-05).

The official GSR score averages the four most recent classes 2004-05, 2003-04, 2002-03, 2001-02, and does not report just the one year average listed above (65%).

Of the seven that did not graduate in the six-year window:
• two currently start for NFL teams
• two returned to GT and completed their degrees in their seventh year — too late for GSR credit.
• three transferred/left for academic reasons.

MEN’S BASKETBALL
Two unique aspects should be noted about GSR and men’s basketball. The number of athletes in the overall GSR equation for basketball is VERY small. Unlike football, with generally more than 20 new enrollees each year, basketball averages less than three new enrollees each year. One or two early departures to the NBA every year or so can create a very low GSR score. This has happened at Tech in the past. The NBA is a dream for every men’s basketball player at Tech. The NBA draft deadline occurs several weeks prior to the end of our spring semester. In the past, our NBA prospects have often pursued the NBA and abandoned their studies. Through education, training, and monitoring, Coach Gregory has made eligibility retention for his players a key focus of his overall program. However, without changes to the draft declaration deadline by the NBA and NCAA, this will continue to be a risk. I would like to note that there were no issues last year with men’s basketball. Our most recent student-athlete, who left early for the NBA, was in good academic standing.

Men’s Basketball – Enrolled 2004-05
As I mentioned earlier, the small total number of basketball student-athletes contributing to a GSR calculation can lead to problems for the GSR metric. For our most recent class (2004-05), we had four student-athletes enroll. One transferred eligible, so our total GSR population for 2004-05 enrollees decreased to three. I can’t go into the specific details in order to protect the confidentiality of the student-athletes, however I can tell you that all three students pursued a professional career. One was able to graduate before leaving; the other two student-athletes are within two semesters of graduating. As with other former student-athletes, both are eligible and encouraged to return to Georgia Tech and receive GTAA aid/support to complete their degree. Into the near future we will continue to have challenges with regard to men’s basketball GSR. GSR scores from early 2000 year classes will continue to contribute to a low GSR for men’s basketball for the next two years.

There is good news. Regardless of NCAA metrics, Georgia Tech will continue to support degree completion for our former student-athletes. Some recent graduates you might recognize: Joe Hamilton, Donnie Davis and TJ Vines. Some current students (Summer 2011): Marco Coleman, Duane Ferrell, Jarrett Jack, Zach Peacock (Unfortunately, most of these students will not qualify to be added to the GSR metric). These names just represent a few of our former athletes who continue to return each semester to complete the degree program they began many years ago.

Georgia Tech is a unique institution in many ways, as many of our alums can attest. The GSR metric is particularly harsh at times as it relates to Tech. However, I want to stress that the commitment to educating our student-athletes by our staff and coaches remains strong.

Additionally, former Georgia Tech student-athletes interested in the Degree Completion Program should visit http://www.ramblinwreck.com/ot/degree_continuation.html.

Go Jackets! Go Green!
Athletics is once again partnering with Georgia Tech Recycling Services in our Game Day Recycling program. Many of you are now familiar with the blue plastic bags distributed to tailgaters and the boxes outside the stadium for collecting glass, aluminum and plastic containers. Thanks to your participation last season, we diverted 21 tons of waste for recycling, and we’re planning to do even better this year. For more information, visit www.recycle.gatech.edu.

Quickie Sports Updates

Volleyball
The women’s volleyball team will return home for the first time inthree weeks to take on Wake Forest Friday night at 7 p.m. followedby a Sunday afternoon meeting with Duke on ESPN3.com at 1 p.m. Thefirst 50 students at the Duke game receive a t-shirt, all studentswill receive a coupon good for a free waffle at Waffle House andany Tech fans who attend the football game, bring your ticket stubsfor reduced $1 admission to the game. CrossCountry
The Yellow Jackets, coming off of a victory at the Crimson Classic,will head to Clemson for the 2011 ACC Championships this weekend.The meet will be held Saturday, October 28 and the men’s 8k willkick off at 10 a.m. followed by the women’s 6k at 11:00 a.m.Swimming andDiving
The swimming and diving team is off this weekend, but will be backin action on November 4 at 6 p.m. in a tri-meet with Clemson andWestern Kentucky and again on Saturday, November 5 dualing PennState at 11 a.m. Men’sBasketball (0-0 record)
The Yellow Jackets have been through 10 days of intense pre-seasonpractice preparing for their season opener Friday, Nov. 11, againstFlorida A&M at the Arena at Gwinnett. Five of Tech’s first sixhome games this season will be played at the Arena at Gwinnett.Golf(National rank: 9)
Tech completed its fall schedule with a fourth-place finish at theUnited States Collegiate Championship at The Golf Club of Georgia.The Yellow Jackets won one event this fall, the BrickyardCollegiate, with a young team that includes only two returningstarters. Men’sTennis (0-0 record)
Senior KevinKing earned the biggest title of his career last weekend bycapturing the singles championship of the USTA/ITA SoutheastRegional. He earned a spot in the singles draw at the ITA NationalIndoor Championships in Flushing, N.Y., and also will team up withhis doubles partner, JuanSpir, in the doubles draw. They are the nation’s top-rankeddoubles team. Football(6-2 overall, 3-2 ACC)
It’s Homecoming on the Flats and the Yellow Jackets welcomeundefeated and sixth-ranked Clemson to Bobby Dodd Stadium for an8:12 p.m. kickoff Saturday. The Yellow Jackets, trying to snap atwo-game losing streak, will host its highest-ranked opponent sinceplaying No. 4 Virginia Tech in 2009. Baseball
Coach DannyHall’s squad continues its annual Gold/White World Series thisweek with intra-squad games on Thursday and Friday afternoon.Women’sBasketball (0-0 record)
The Yellow Jackets were picked fifth at last week’s ACC Media Dayin Greensboro. Georgia Tech will open its season on Nov. 11 againstAlabama State at 5:30 p.m. as the first half of a doubleheader withthe GT men at the Arena at Gwinnett. Women’sTennis
Senior JillianO’Neill reached the main draw semifinals of the USTA/ITASoutheast Regional Championships last week in Gainesville, Fla.,while freshman JasmineMinor advanced to the semifinals of the consolation draw. Techhas one event left this fall, the Purdue Invitational Nov. 4-6.Swimming andDiving
The swimming and diving team is off this weekend but will be backin action on November 4 at 6 p.m. in a tri-meet with Clemson andWestern Kentucky and again on Saturday, November 5 dualing PennState at 11 a.m. Volleyball
The women’s volleyball team will return home for the first time inthree weeks to take on Wake Forest Friday night at 7 p.m. followedby a Sunday afternoon meeting with Duke on ESPN3.com at 1 p.m.First 50 students at the Duke game receive a t-shirt, all studentswill receive a coupon good for a free waffle at Waffle House andany Tech fans who attend the football game, bring your ticket stubsfor reduced $1 admission to the game. CrossCountry
The Yellow Jackets, coming off of a victory at the Crimson Classicwill head to Clemson for the 2011 ACC Championships this weekend.The meet will be held Saturday, October 28 and the men’s 8k willkick off at 10 a.m. followed by the women’s 6k at 11:00 a.m.

Compliance Corner
Did you know that the NCAA Division I Manual is over 400 pages long? To the delight of many athletic administrators that may change very soon. Last month, NCAA president Mark Emmert hosted a two-day Presidential retreat that provided NCAA Division I presidents an opportunity to discuss the current state of intercollegiate athletics. Proposed changes include rewriting the rule book, changes to the enforcement penalty structure and increased academic reform efforts. Less than 24 hours after the Presidential retreat, the Division I Board of Directors approved the concept of increasing academic requirements and mandating that teams must meet the requirements in order to participate in post-season competition including NCAA championships and bowl games. To read more about the initiatives discussed at the retreat please click here.

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