More than 96% of female, and nearly 94% of male Division I water polo athletes who entered school and received athletic scholarships in 2006 graduated, making the sport the most successful in doing so among all DI athletic offerings, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Those findings were reported in the recently published 2013 NCAA Research report, Trends in Graduation-Success Rates and Federal Graduation Rates at NCAA Division I Institutions.
Between the 2005 and 2006 cohorts among men there was a 12.7% improvement in graduation rates (60 of 74 athletes in 2005, and 61 out of 65 athletes in 2006), nearly a full percentage point better than the next best sport, gymnastics. The best outcome for men’s water polo was for the 1995 cohort which graduated 94.6%. The low mark came with the 1999 group which graduated only 80% of its members.
The 2006 cohort of women graduated 108 of 112 entrants, nearly two percentage points better than any other sport, and its highest mark since 1995 when all 100% of the group earned degrees.
By NCAA Research definition, student-athletes within a cohort are allowed six years to graduate after initially entering school. Data from the 2006 groups, which include athletes who graduated as recently as 2012, is the most recent possessed by the NCAA. Only those student-athletes who are given an athletic scholarship upon entry to the school are included in the study.