The University of Central Florida football team’s success in the classroom ranks among the best out of the 70 programs competing in bowl games this season.

UCF tied for eighth in graduating African-American football student-athletes (78 percent) and tied for 11th in graduating all football student-athletes (81 percent), according to a report released Monday by Richard Lapchick, director of UCF’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

The UCF football program’s Academic Progress Rate of 974, one of the NCAA’s key measures of academic success, tied for 13th among the 70 teams.

In all three categories, UCF ranked first among the three Florida teams competing in bowl games.

The Knights will take on Ball State at the Beef `O’ Brady’s Bowl on Friday, Dec. 21, in St. Petersburg. Visit for more information about the game and how to purchase tickets.

UCF’s football student-athletes have received many recognitions throughout the season for their outstanding performance in the classroom. Ten of the program’s 20 seniors already have earned their bachelor’s degrees and are either enrolled in graduate school or pursuing additional bachelor’s degrees.

For student-athletes in all sports, UCF’s overall graduation rate was 85 percent, tied for 15th among the 70 universities competing in bowl games. UCF’s rate ranks first among all of Florida’s public universities.

Nationally, Lapchick noted that graduation rates for both white and African-American football student-athletes increased by 1 percentage point. However, he remains concerned that there is a gap of 20 percentage points nationally between the graduation rates for white and African-American student-athletes.

If the national championship were based on Graduation Success Rates, Notre Dame would play Northwestern for the title.

The study covers four years of data ending with the 2010-11 academic year, the most recent year available on the NCAA website.

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport is part of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program in UCF’s College of Business Administration. The institute serves as a comprehensive resource for issues related to gender and race in amateur, collegiate and professional sport.