June 11, 2004
WACO, Texas-Miami University's football program is among 32 NCAA Division I-A football programs nationwide to be honored by the American Football Coaches Association for possessing a graduation rate of at least 70 percent. Miami was one of a national-best seven Mid-American Conference programs to earn honorable mention status.
The 2003 Miami RedHawks, who won the program's first MAC Title since 1986 and finished the season at 13-1, saw 17 scholarship members of their 1998-99 freshman class earn their degrees. Of the 94 institutions nationwide that submitted graduation numbers to the AFCA, the overall graduation rate stood at 59 percent with 49 member schools finishing above that mark. Miami was one of only three programs to rank among the top 12 in both major national polls and also earn the AFCA's Academic Achievement honor, joining Iowa and the University of Miami.
"While we're pleased and encouraged by the recognition and proud of the student-athletes that made earned their degrees, the No. 1 goal of our institution and program is and always has been to graduate 100 percent of our student athletes," head coach Terry Hoeppner said. " We are going to continue working hard to meet that goal."
Boston College and Northwestern University shared the overall 2004 AFCA Academic Achievement Award for graduating 100 percent of their 1998-99 freshman classes. Boston College earned its fourth honor, while Northwestern, coached by Miami Hall of Famer Randy Walker, captured its third.
Joining Miami as MAC programs to earn the honor were Ball State, Bowling Green, Marshall, Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan. No other Division I-A football conference placed more than five schools on the list.
The graduation rates released by the AFCA were computed by taking the total number of scholarship players from the 1998-99 freshman class, adding walk-ons that earned scholarships and deducting those student-athletes who transferred while in good standing.