November 13, 2017, BY Jon Terry

Fans in Sojka Pavilion
Fans cheer on the Bison men's basketball team in Sojka Pavilion.

Bucknell Athletics has maintained a longstanding tradition of lofty national rankings when it comes to student-athlete graduation rates, and this year is no different. In the NCAA's newest survey of student-athlete graduation rates, Bucknell is once again among the nation's best. According to the U.S. Department of Education's standards, Bucknell ranks fourth nationally, with a four-class average of 90 percent for student-athletes entering between 2007–08 and 2010–11.

The only schools ranking ahead of Bucknell were Stanford (94 percent), Notre Dame (93 percent) and Northwestern (91 percent). Bucknell and Davidson both came in at 90 percent. Bucknell has led the nation in student-athlete graduation rate on several occasions, including as recently as 2013, and was second nationally in each of the last three years.

Graduation Success Rate
In addition to the federal graduation-rate report, the NCAA also announced its own Graduation Success Rate (GSR) results, and Bucknell once again scored very well — 95 percent — in that formula. The GSR differs from the federal graduation-rate formula in that the GSR factors in transfer students who graduate, and does not penalize schools for losing transfers who leave in good academic standing. Fifteen Bison sports programs have perfect 100 percent GSR ratings: baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, men's water polo, wrestling, field hockey, women's golf, softball, women's swimming & diving, women's tennis and volleyball. All remaining sports were at 88 percent or better.

The Bison men's basketball team is one of 59 out of 351 Division I programs to boast a GSR of 100. The men's team won the "academic national championship" last season, according to Inside Higher Ed, which completed a full NCAA Tournament bracket based on the 68 competing teams' academic performances.

In addition, the Bison wrestling team is one of only five programs with a perfect GSR, joining American, Columbia, Princeton and Davidson. Men's lacrosse is one of only seven teams nationally with a perfect score.   

By the more restrictive federal guidelines, nine Bison varsity programs boast perfect 100 percent graduation rates. Those programs are baseball, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, men's water polo, field hockey, women's swimming & diving, and women's tennis. Five other programs are at 90 percent or better. Nationally, the Division I GSR of 87 percent for all student-athletes is the highest rate ever recorded.

Academic Progress Rate
Each spring, the NCAA releases a separate set of data, called the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures both academic performance and retention. Each program receives an APR score, with teams falling under a certain threshold subject to penalties such as loss of scholarships and postseason bans. The top 10 percent in each sport receive APR Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA, and last May, 15 of Bucknell's programs were so honored, the sixth-highest total in all of Division I. All of Bucknell's programs easily met the NCAA minimum standard, and 15 maintained perfect scores.

Bucknell sponsors 27 intercollegiate sports at the Division I level. It is a charter member of the Patriot League and has won the President's Cup, the league's all-sports championship, in 18 of the 27 years it has been contested.