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Vanderbilt has SEC's highest grad rate

With all this talk about whether the SEC can win its sixth straight national championship this season, let's take a look at what's really important.

Who's getting it done in the classroom?

After all, football is just an extracurricular activity, right?

While all the snickering dies down, I'll point out that the latest NCAA graduation success rates are out and are based on the incoming classes from 2001-02 through 2004-05. The graduation success rate is different than the federal rate in that it allows schools to add scholarship transfer students who fit into their respective freshmen cohorts and remove those students who leave early and are still in good academic standing.

Vanderbilt posted an 86 to lead all SEC football programs, while LSU (77) and Florida (76) were the only other two in the league greater than 70. The national average was 67.

Bringing up the rear in the SEC was South Carolina with a 39, although officials at South Carolina said a clerical error submitted to the NCAA is what caused the Gamecocks' score to be so low. The university said that 11 football players who had graduated were not accounted for in the forms submitted to the NCAA used to compile the report. South Carolina's score is expected to increase by 16 to 18 points once the forms are updated.

According to NCAA data, here's how all 12 SEC football programs fared:

  • Vanderbilt: 86

  • LSU: 77

  • Florida: 76

  • Alabama: 69

  • Georgia: 65

  • Auburn: 63

  • Mississippi State: 62

  • Kentucky: 61

  • Tennessee: 61

  • Arkansas: 56

  • Ole Miss: 54

  • South Carolina: 39