Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Clemson's grad rates will improve

Clemson’s graduation numbers for men’s basketball are downright ugly, but sports information director Tim Bourret said they will improve under fifth-year coach Oliver Purnell.

On Wednesday, the NCAA released its six-year graduation rate figures for freshmen who entered school from 1997 to 2000. Clemson’s 31 percent Graduation Success Rate and 19 percent federal graduation rate for men’s basketball were the lowest marks for men’s basketball and football teams in the Carolinas.

Bourret said those numbers are disappointing, but added that none of the athletes examined in that study were recruited by Purnell. He expects future graduation rates to be higher because:

- All three scholarship seniors on the 2005-06 team (Akin Akingbala, Steve Allen and Shawan Robinson) received their degrees.

- All three 2007-08 scholarship seniors (Cliff Hammonds, James Mays and Sam Perry) are on track to graduate.

- The team grade-point average of 2.66 last spring was one of the top five marks for a semester in the last 10 years.

- Clemson had three members of the ACC All-Academic team last year, more than any other men’s basketball team.

The low graduation rates of players who entered school before Purnell arrived still are troubling. With scholarship penalties soon coming into effect for programs that don’t perform in the classroom, it’s more imperative than ever for teams that have struggled with academics in the past to turn things around. – Ken Tysiac