The Good Word

Sept. 28, 2006

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

Thanks to all the Georgia Tech fans who gave us such tremendous support during our four-game homestand. We all know that wasn’t an ideal situation for team and fans alike, and we plan to avoid that scheduling quirk in the future.

Special thanks to turf manager Kris Harris, who does a fantastic job with all of our athletic fields. Four games in 19 days was especially challenging for him and his staff, but the field held up well and looked great.

I hope to see many of you in Blacksburg this weekend as we embark on our first road trip of the season. Although there will be plenty of orange in the stands, we know those of you who make the trip will be heard! Remember the game is on ABC at 3:30 p.m., and coverage on the Tech radio network begins at 1:30 p.m. And if you’re not making the trip, you can check out the Tech volleyball team, which hosts Florida State (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Miami (Saturday, 7 p.m.) this weekend at O’Keefe Gymnasium.

You probably wonder why we are playing at Virginia Tech two years in a row. The explanation from the Atlantic Coast Conference is that last season was a stand-alone year as the first season with all 12 teams, and 2006 is the beginning of the new schedule rotation. Not that it makes our task Saturday any easier, but we are not the only school in this situation. For example, North Carolina is going to Miami for the second straight year.

THROWBACK UNIFORMS

We’ve had a tremendous response to the Throwback uniforms our football team wore for last Thursday’s win over Virginia. Some of you have asked about wearing them again season. That’s not possible as the helmets are being auctioned – if you would like to buy one, visit ramblinwreck.com. It’s not feasible to maintain two different helmets because of the cost, so this season we will not have a permanent “alternate” uniform.

Thanks again for the feedback. We will certainly evaluate all the possibilities after the season. But you might see a remnant of the “Throwback” look Saturday in Blacksburg.

ACADEMIC DATA

As you have probably read, the NCAA released a batch of data yesterday called the GSR – Graduation Success Rate. The GSR is a relatively new statistic that is designed to more accurately reflect graduation rates than the traditional federal rate. In simple terms, the GSR accounts student-athletes for student-athletes who transfer into your institution (in the federal rate, students who transfer count against the school they leave but do not count for the school they transfer to, even if they graduate) while not penalizing you for students who transfer or turn professional as long as they are in good standing when they leave.

One of the drawbacks of the GSR is that there is no corresponding statistic for the overall student population, so there is no way to measure how student-athletes are performing relative to the entire Institute. GSR is only used to compare one institution to another, which sometimes can be apples to oranges.

As I told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this is not about “competing” with other schools, this is about challenging ourselves to do the best job possible to prepare our student-athletes to succeed. The numbers released yesterday reflect improvement, but we can certainly do better, and I’m confident we will continue to improve. Another statistical measure that will be released later in the year – the APR, or Academic Progress Rate – bears that out. The APR is a more current snapshot of academic performance and retention. President Clough was involved in the development and implementation of this figure, and he is a proponent of the APR as a measuring stick.

Georgia Tech has performed very well in the APR thus far, and we anticipate another very positive showing when the figures are released to reflect a three-year compilation.

Taking a look at our current situation, last year’s football team had 17 seniors. Thirteen have graduated, and of the remaining four, two are enrolled and scheduled to graduate this semester. The other two are pursuing NFL careers but both are on track to graduate when they can return to school. Over the last three seasons, we had a total of 57 football seniors and 42 have graduated (74 percent). Of the remaining 15, five are currently enrolled and seven others are in the NFL.

When looking at the numbers in baseball, it’s important to note that some of the students who count as “non-graduates” have actually graduated but did so outside the six-year window because they left school for a few years to pursue a professional career.

Again, thank you for your positive response to “The Good Word.” We welcome your feedback at goodword@athletics.gatech.edu While I cannot guarantee a personal response to every email that we receive, please know that they will all be read, so I do encourage your continued participation in this process. Some of your questions could become topics for future issues of The Good Word.

I also encourage you to share this letter with any Tech fan who may not have access to the Internet. Our goal is to inform and engage as many Yellow Jacket supporters as we possibly can.

I want to personally thank you for your continued support of Georgia Tech Athletics as we move forward with our vision for excellence.

Go Jackets!

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