Athletics News

Siena Athletes at Head of the Class

Taylor Akana (So., Volleyball), Tom Morr (Sr., lacrosse), OD Anosike (Jr., basketball) and Jessica Macaluso (Fr., tennis) each excel in their sports and studies

Oct. 27, 2011

Siena College student athletes are among the most likely in the nation to graduate. Using the most recent data released Tuesday in the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report, student athletes who entered Siena as freshman in 2004 graduated from college at a 98% clip. Siena's GSR is the best in the MAAC, and is surpassed nationally by just six schools: Columbia and Brown (100%), and Dartmouth, Colgate, Notre Dame and American (99%). Siena's GSR tied with Harvard and Holy Cross.

Siena has ranked in the top-10 percent of Division I institutions in all seven GSR reports, and is one of just 21 schools to have posted a GSR of 93% or above in each report. The 98% marks Siena's highest GSR ever.

"It is a goal of ours to earn national recognition for the academic achievements of our student athletes, so this is an accomplishment we truly cherish," Siena president Fr. Kevin Mullen, O.F.M. said. "At Siena, our athletes are students. Winning games is important, but we won't sacrifice Siena's academic standards and our reputation to achieve athletic success. Our coaches have done a wonderful job recruiting young men and women who are committed to earning a Siena degree, and the student athletes show they are committed by being national leaders for academic achievement."

Tuesday's report gives graduation information for students and student athletes who entered college in 2004, the most recent graduating class for which the required six years of information is available. It also broke down the GSR by sport, using a four-year class average (2001-2004) called a cohort rate to provide a big enough sample.

Remarkably, 14 of Siena's 18 Division I sports posted perfect 100% cohort GSRs, up from seven last year. All 18 out-performed the cohort national average. Siena sports that achieved perfect cohort GSRs were: baseball, men's cross country, men's golf, men's soccer, men's tennis, women's basketball, women's cross country, field hockey, women's golf, women's soccer, women's tennis, softball and water polo.

Siena's basketball programs surpassed the cohort GSR national average by a large margin. The men's basketball team posted a 90% cohort GSR according to the report, 22 percentage points higher than the national average of 68%. The women's basketball team posted a perfect 100% cohort GSR compared to the national average of 86%.

Siena in the GSR

2011 (students who entered College in 2004): 98%
2010 (students who entered College in 2003): 95%
2009 (students who entered College in 2002): 95%
2008 (students who entered College in 2001): 94%
2007 (students who entered College in 2000): 93%
2006 (students who entered College in 1999): 97%
2005 (students who entered College in 1998): 96%
Note: 2005 was initial report
"Siena student athletes truly give meaning to the term student athlete," Katie Carew, president of Siena's and the MAAC's Student Athlete Advisor Committee, and a representative on the NCAA's Recruiting Cabinet said. "We want to succeed as much in the classroom as we do in our sports. Siena provides us with many resources to be successful, in addition to great support from our teammates, coaches, administrators and faculty."

The NCAA developed the GSR seven years ago because the federal graduation rate does not credit institutions with student athletes who leave in good academic standing and go on to graduate, or transfers into the school who graduate.

This was the first report that included Ivy League schools, which don't offer scholarships. Three of the six institutions that out-performed Siena are members of the Ivy League. The data Ivy League schools report is for recruited student athletes, a provision the NCAA has always included in the GSR, but reported for the first time Tuesday.

Tuesday's report also included the most recent Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) data. Using that methodology, Siena student athletes tied for the eighth highest rate in the nation at 84%, seven percentage points higher than the rate attained by Siena's general student population (77%), and 19 percentage points higher than the national student athlete average (65%).

The FGR is based on a comparison of the number of students who entered a college or university and the number of those who graduated within six years. For example, for every 100 Siena student athletes entering school, 84 graduate from Siena within six years.

"The College's Strategic Plan, "Living our Tradition", emphasizes that athletics will be nationally recognized for academic excellence, and this GSR certainly meets that objective," director of athletics John D'Argenio said. "We have student athletes who take pride in their academic success, coaches who recruit students that want to earn a Siena degree, and a support staff that keeps everyone focused."

The GSR increased on a national level as well, reaching a new high of 82 percent.

"Academic reform is working. Students are better prepared when they enter college, and they are staying on track to earn their degrees," NCAA president Mark Emmert said. "Some doubted our efforts, but the resolve of our presidents is strong, and we are reaping the fruit of several years of hard work."