The UCF women’s basketball team earned a 100% Graduation Success Rate in a study released by the UCF Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport that analyzes the academic success of men’s and women’s teams competing in the NCAA tournament.

The Knights, the American Athletic Conference’s regular season and tournament champions, enter the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed, the team’s highest ever. They will open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, against the No. 10 seed Florida Gators in Storrs, Conn. The game will be broadcast on ESPNews.

UCF is one of 31 teams out of 68 in the field that had a 100% Graduation Success Rate. Last year, UCF was one of 27 teams in the field of 64 that earned a 100% Graduation Success Rate.

“Our women have been very successful on the court; however, I am even more proud of the work they’ve done in the classroom.”

“Our women have been very successful on the court; however, I am even more proud of the work they’ve done in the classroom,” said Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. “Getting an education and receiving a degree is one of the most important achievements of our program! We want to win championships, but it’s very important that we are also setting our student-athletes up for the next 55 years of their lives. We want to make sure we’re doing what we need to do to graduate and become a very productive part of society. I’m very proud of what our student-athletes have accomplished on and off the court.”

The team has five players who are already pursuing their master’s degrees at UCF.

In the study, institute director Richard Lapchick noted that “as we are close to celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, among the noteworthy achievements of women who are student athletes is that they perform academically better than the men. We have been doing the graduation rate studies for almost two decades. Over that period of time, we have reported that women’s basketball teams have performed considerably better in the classroom than the men’s teams in all of the categories we measure … Student-athletes on women’s basketball teams have once again set the academic standard when it comes to academics across the college basketball biosphere.”

The Graduation Success Rate focuses on the number of student-athletes on a team who earn degrees within six years following their entrance into an NCAA institution.

Lapchick noted that female student-athletes on tournament teams graduated at an average of 93.9%, while male student-athletes graduated at an average of 87.2%. The racial gap among graduation rates narrowed for both women’s and men’s teams. The rate for Black female student-athletes was 5.9% lower than for white female student-athletes, down from 6.1% last year. Among male student-athletes, the racial gap dropped from 13.5% to 11.6%.

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, which is part of the UCF College of Business, serves as a comprehensive resource for issues related to gender and race in amateur, collegiate and professional sport. The institute researches and publishes a variety of studies, including annual studies of student-athlete graduation rates and racial attitudes in sport as well as the internationally recognized Racial and Gender Report Card, an assessment of hiring practices in professional and college sport.