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Dec 08, 2023

Clemson Earns 2023 AFCA Aca­demic Achieve­ment Award

The American Football Coaches Association announced today that Clemson has been named as a recipient of the organization’s 2023 Aca­demic Achieve­ment Award. The honor marks Clemson’s third AFCA Academic Achievement Award all-time.

More information from the AFCA is included below.

WACO, TEX. — Arkansas State, Buffalo, Clemson, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisville, Navy, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, South Alabama, UTSA, and Virginia will share the American Football Coaches Asso­­ciation’s 2023 Aca­demic Achieve­ment Award. The Memphis Touchdown Club presents the annual award, which is sponsored by BSN Sports.

All 13 schools shared the highest graduation rate for members of their 2016 freshman football student-athlete classes. This is Northwestern’s 12th honor, Notre Dame’s 10th, Virginia’s fourth and Clemson’s third. Kansas State, Louisville and Navy are receiving their second honor while Arkansas State, Buffalo, Iowa State, North Carolina, South Alabama, and UTSA are receiving the award for the first time. The award will be presented during the Honors Luncheon on Monday, January 8, at the 2024 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

This year’s award marks the 12th time the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) one-year 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 the AFCA. From 2008-17, the criteria for the AFCA’s Academic Achievement Award was based on the highest NCAA GSR, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better. For 2018 and 2019, the AFCA used the NCAA’s single-year APR. The AFCA returned to the GSR one-year formula in 2022.

The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes and holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees and non-scholarship students at schools that do not offer athletics aid. 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.

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, the AFCA stepped in to present the award.

Past Academic Achievement Award Winners
1981: Duke*
1982: Notre Dame*
1983: Notre Dame*
1984: Duke & Notre Dame*
1985: Virginia*
1986: Virginia*
1987: Duke*
1988: Notre Dame*
1989: Kentucky*
1990: Duke*
1991: Notre Dame*
1992: Boston College & TCU*
1993: Duke*
1994: Duke*
1995: Boston College, Duke & Wake Forest*
1996: Boston College, Duke & Vanderbilt*
1997: Duke*
1998: Northwestern
1999: Duke
2000: Syracuse
2001: Notre Dame & Vanderbilt
2002: Northwestern
2003: Duke
2004: Boston College & Northwestern
2005: Duke & Northwestern
2006: SMU
2007: Northwestern & Notre Dame
2008: Vanderbilt
2009: Notre Dame & Miami (Fla.)
2010: Northwestern & Rice
2011: Boise State & Miami (Ohio)
2012: Northwestern & Stanford
2013: Georgia, Rice, Stanford & Tulane
2014: Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame & Stanford
2015: Duke & Vanderbilt
2016: Miami (Fla.), Northwestern & Stanford
2017: Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee State, Northwestern, Utah, Utah State & Virginia
2018: Clemson, Kansas State, Nevada, Oklahoma State & Pittsburgh
2019: Air Force, Alabama, Clemson, Louisville, Rice & Utah
2020: no award given
2021: no award given
2022: Air Force, Boston College, Navy, Northwestern, Stanford, Toledo, Vanderbilt
2023: Arkansas State, Buffalo, Clemson, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisville, Navy, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, South Alabama, UTSA and Virginia

Most Awards: Duke, 14; Northwestern, 12; Notre Dame, 10; Boston College, 5; Stanford, 5; Vanderbilt, 5; Virginia, 4; Clemson, 3; Rice, 3.

*- Presented by the CFA