LOGAN — Utah State has earned the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis.
The Aggies will share the award with six other schools, including Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee, Northwestern, Utah and Virginia. Each institution recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of their freshman football student-athlete class of 2010.
This is Northwestern’s 10th honor and Virginia’s third. Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee, Utah and Utah State are receiving the award for the first time. The award will be presented during the Honors Luncheon on Monday, Jan. 8, at the 2018 AFCA Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
This year’s award marks the 10th time the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA. Since 2008, the criteria for AFCA’s Academic Achievement Award is based on the highest NCAA GSR, with at least 15 students in the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.
The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association in 1981. The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997, AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.
The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for mid-year enrollees.
Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.
Utah State will close out the 2017 football season by playing in the third-annual NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl against New Mexico State on Friday, Dec. 29, at 3:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network (Comcast Ch. 269/753HD, Dish Network Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221).
This will be the second meeting between Utah State and New Mexico in a bowl game, as NMSU recorded a 20-13 win against USU in the 1960 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Ironically, that was the last bowl game New Mexico State had appeared in prior to this season.
As for Utah State, it played in five straight bowl games from 2011-15 and won three straight bowls from 2012-14, both of which are school records. All-time, the Aggies are 4-7 in their 11 bowl games and this marks the first repeat opponent for Utah State in a bowl game.
Tickets for the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Ticket prices for the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl will range from $67 for midfield, $52 for the sidelines and north end zone, and $27 for the corners and south end zone. The priority deadline to purchase bowl tickets is Monday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. All orders placed before Wednesday, Dec. 20 will be mailed through FedEx and orders placed after Dec. 20 can be picked up at will call in Arizona.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.