When I was in Congress, Senator Bill Bradley, Congressman Ed Towns, and I co-sponsored federal legislation, the Student Right-to-Know Act, requiring colleges and universities to disclose the graduation rates of its students and student-athletes. Prior to that bill, there were no such required disclosures and despite opposition from the higher education community, we passed the bill. Needless to say, it would be hard to imagine college sports today without the disclosure of such graduation rates.
Since that time, by requiring disclosure, the graduation rates of student-athletes have continued to improve, as institutions have increasingly provided their students with more robust academic support. In fact, the NCAA recently announced an all-time high in graduation rates for student-athletes, with 89 percent of athletes enrolled in college in 2012 earning degrees. The NCAA also announced an increase in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) graduation rate to an all-time high at 82 percent.
As the great Justice Brandeis once said, “disclosure is the great disinfectant.” And now almost 30 years since we passed the bill, the disclosure of graduation rates has been a tremendous force in helping institutions emphasize the academic performance of their student-athletes.
While the media often focuses on the negative, it is great and reassuring to see such positive news about our student-athletes.