Louisiana State University may again be the best team in the nation going into the recently announced college bowls, but when it comes to the football team’s academic performance, it’s a lower-than-middling No. 13. According to an analysis by the New America Foundation (NAF), only 48% of the school’s football players graduate within six years or less.
But the ironic news is that the team that topped the list is Penn State, whose football program, coached by the legendary Joe Paterno, was rocked by a sex-abuse scandal. According to the analysis, Penn State graduates 80% of its football players in six years or less and also shows no achievement gap between its black and white players, which NAF says is extremely rare for Division I football teams. (At LSU, by comparison, the team’s black players are 32% less likely to graduate than their white counterparts.) Winning the top honors in the academic bowl further proves the success of Paterno’s “grand experiment,” his idea that major-college athletes could contend for national championships while excelling in the classroom.