PunditFact: Claim on graduation rates of student-athletes

St. Petersburg, Florida -- A recent decision by a U.S. district court judge against the NCAA is keeping the debate between amateur and professional status for college athletes front and center. The NCAA president says more student-athletes are graduating. 10 News anchor Allison Kropff teams up with PunditFact to check his claim.

The decision by the federal court judge in California said that student-athletes cannot be banned from profiting off of their own names and likenesses, has the NCAA president defending their amateur status by emphasizing their academic success. President Mark Emmert was on ABC's "This Week."

Here's what he said: "Many, many, many thousands of student-athletes take full advantage of the opportunity to be both a student and an athlete while they're in college. The vast majority of them graduate. More graduate than the students who aren't student-athletes. So I believe strongly, and more importantly, the evidence demonstrates that indeed they are students."

Fact-checkers looked into whether student-athletes have higher graduation rates than their nonathlete peers. The NCAA and federal government data rates show Division 1 athletes have about the same graduation rates as nonathletes.

"The problem is that's not a very uniform way of doing it. The federal data doesn't use the same parameters as the NCAA data so you're kind of cherry picking data to make your argument," says Katie Sanders with PunditFact.

Fact-checkers did find athletes in Division 2 and Division 3 athletes do have higher graduation rates than nonstudent-athletes.

But because the date is inconclusive, PunditFact rates Emmert's claim, HALF TRUE.

The graduation rates are not the same across all sports, divisions, schools or demographics. Therefore, a group with a good or bad graduation rate could skew overall results.

You can read the details of this fact-check here.


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