Playing Smart

August 1, 2003


Duke has been named the winner of the American Football Coaches Association’s 2003 Academic Achievement Award in recognition of the 100-percent graduation rate of its football squad. The award is presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Memphis.

Duke has won the award eleven times—four of them with a perfect graduation rate. The university also earned the honor in 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1990, 1987, 1984, and 1981. Duke has earned honorable mention honors on nine other occasions and has won the award or received honorable mention every year since 1986. This year’s 100-percent graduation rate was recorded when all members of the freshman class of 1997-98 earned a degree, including those who entered at that time but did not receive financial aid until after their initial year and those who transferred from another institution and subsequently received a grant-in-aid.

Thirty-one other institutions were recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of their football players. Six of those institutions achieved a rate of 90 percent or better: Boston College and the University of Connecticut, as well as Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest universities. Other universities receiving honorable mention with a graduation rate of 70 percent or better were Ball State, Baylor, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Marshall, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Southern Methodist, Southern Mississippi, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, Tulane, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Western Michigan.

• Most Awards: Duke has won or shared the Academic Achievement Award eleven times. Notre Dame is second with six awards; Boston College is third, with three awards.

• Honorable Mention: Virginia has earned honorable-mention status eighteen times; Notre Dame and Rice, sixteen times each.

• Top Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference universities have been honored seventy-five times since the award was created in 1981. The ACC’s fourteen Academic Achievement Awards are the most among current Division I-A conferences.