Notre Dame on the point

Published 11:56 am Tuesday, December 27, 2005

By Staff
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - As the fifth-ranked University of Notre Dame football team prepares to play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (its first Bowl Championship Appearance since the 2000 regular season), Irish student-athletes – and, in particular, the Irish football squad – continue to excel at the highest level both on the playing field and in the classroom.
Here are the latest achievements by Notre Dame student-athletes:
Notre Dame currently stands first in the second set of fall sports standings released in the 2005-06 United States Sports Academy Division I Directors' Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (formerly known as Sears Directors' Cup).
Fall NCAA competition so far has earned the Irish 291 points based on their third-place finish in men's cross country (85 points), their seventh-place finish in women's cross country (69 points), their quarterfinal appearance in women's soccer (73) and their third-round appearance in men's soccer (64). Yet to come are fall points for Notre Dame's NCAA regional semifinal appearance in volleyball and for its final standing in football (based on the final USA Today poll after the bowl games).
Sports Illustrated on Campus ranked Notre Dame's overall athletic program number one in the country in its weekly updates throughout the fall of 2005.
Sixteen of 20 athletics programs at the University of Notre Dame compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, and none were below 90 percent, according to the new Graduation Success Rate measurement developed by the NCAA and announced this week.
NCAA figures released Monday showed that, among Notre Dame's men's sports, baseball, cross country/track, fencing, ice hockey, soccer, swimming and tennis achieved 100 percent GSR scores. Football scored 96 percent, golf was 92 percent and basketball was 90 percent (lacrosse is not included because the program did not offer grants in aid during the years covered in the survey).
The Irish women's programs with a GSR of 100 percent were basketball, cross country/track, fencing, golf, lacrosse, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball. Soccer scored a 94 percent GSR.
Among the 119 NCAA Division I-A institutions, Notre Dame had the highest percentage of its sports with 100 percent GSR scores, with a .800 figure (16 of 20). In football, Notre Dame achieved a 96 GSR rating, with only the United States Naval Academy (at 98) ranking higher among the Division I-A schools. And, when the final 2005 regular-season USA Today football poll of coaches is re-ranked by football GSR score, Notre Dame (sixth in the actual poll) finishes first in that tabulation at 96, just ahead of Clemson at 94 (23rd in actual poll).
Meanwhile, while the Irish football team has returned to the ranks of the nation's elite programs under first-year coach Charlie Weis (a national coach-of-the-year nominee for several awards), and led by Associated Press All-Americans Jeff Samardzija at wide receiver, Brady Quinn at quarterback and Tom Zbikowski at safety, the Notre Dame football team achieved unprecedented results in the classroom during the 2005 fall semester. The Irish football players combined for a 3.04 team grade-point average during the ‘05 fall semester, marking the highest semester average ever achieved by the football squad. That figure includes 56 of 97 players achieving a 3.0 average or higher.
The GSR was created to more accurately reflect actual graduation rates by including transfer data in the calculation. The graduation rate methodology used for the past decade by the Department of Education counts all student-athletes who transfer from or leave an institution for any reason as non-graduates from their initial school, even if they leave in good academic standing – and does not include those who transfer.
Here are the top 10 schools (among the 119 Division I-A institutions) in terms of percentage of sports with 100 GSR scores:
The national GSR for Division I-A is 76 percent. Only team rates were released; an aggregate rate for each institution will be announced in late January. The first-year GSR data is based upon the entering classes from 1995 to 1998.
A third set of fall NACDA Cup standings will be released Dec. 29 - and the final fall standings will be available Jan. 10.
Stanford (232 points) ranks second in the current standings, thanks to its ‘05 NCAA title in women's cross country, a runnerup finish in men's water polo, and a sixth-place finish in men's cross country. Third is Duke (second in field hockey, third in women's cross country), followed by Colorado (NCAA women's cross country runnerup) and North Carolina (reached quarterfinals in booth men's and women's soccer).
The current standings include results from NCAA fall competition in women's field hockey, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, and men's water polo.
In previous years in which the Directors' Cup competition has been held, Notre Dame has finished 11th in 1993-94, 30th in 1994-95, 11th in 1995-96, 14th in 1996-97, tied for 31st in 1997-98, 25th in 1998-99, 21st in 1999-2000, 11th in 2000-01, 13th in 2001-02, tied for 13th in 2002-03, 19th in 2003-04 and 16th in 2004-05. Here are the current standings:
1.Notre Dame 291, 2.Stanford 232, 3.Duke 230, 4.Colorado 215, 5.North Carolina 188.5, 6.Virginia 181, 7.Wake Forest 170.5, 8.Penn State 159.5, 9.Wisconsin 159, 10.Maryland 150, 11.California 149.5, 12.BYU 142, 13.UCLA 140, 14.SMU 133, 15.Arkansas and Oklahoma State (tie) 126.