Football Finding Success in Athletics, Academics

LSU Football
LSU Football
Steve Franz
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications

BATON ROUGE – When it comes to measuring success of the nation’s top football programs both in the classroom and on the playing field, LSU finds itself among an elite group of schools that are excelling both areas.

In a poll conducted by Washington D.C.-area think tank New America and published in Time Magazine, the results took into account a teams’ national ranking based on the College Football Playoff Standings and its graduation success rate (GSR). LSU was ranked No. 20 in the final College Football Playoff Standings and were No. 10 among all college football teams in the Top 25 in GSR score.

Combine the two polls and LSU finds itself sitting at No. 15 in the nation, which ranks third among all Southeastern Conference schools. Alabama is first among league schools with a combined ranking of No. 2 followed by Ole Miss, who came in at No. 11. Other SEC schools in the combined Top 25 include Florida at No. 17, and Tennessee at No. 23.

In the academic-only ranking for the Top 25 teams, LSU’s No. 10 placement is second in the SEC behind only Alabama, who checked in at No. 6.

Clemson was ranked No. 1 in the football playoff poll, while Northwestern was No. 1 in the academic poll.

LSU recently completed its 11th season under head coach Les Miles, posting a 9-3 overall mark after its 56-27 win over Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl. LSU had 12 players on its roster for the bowl game already earn their degree.

“The intangibles of success is as impactful as the tangible outcomes,” LSU Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs & Executive Director of the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes Kenneth Miles said. “The success that the football team has had in the classroom is phenomenal. Taking into account those teams ranked in the Top 25 in the College Football Playoff Standings, LSU ranks 10th academically among those schools.

“That’s a historical mark for our institution that is worthy of praise. It is the collective action of all invested that dictates our success. It is certainly is not accidental but by design.”

Kenneth Miles also credited LSU’s continued academic success in football to its SWAG (Student-Athletes with a Gameplan) initiative, which is directed by Walt Holliday in the academic center.

“This (SWAG) is our character development program for football team,” Miles said. “This program has proven to be very beneficial for the development of our football student-athletes off the field. We bring in community leaders, campus leaders and other influential people to educate, inform and connect with our student-athletes.

“This program has been a big part in our continued academic improvement and we are grateful to all of those who have taken the time to be a part of this initiative.”