John Dell newsletter

Winston-Salem State ended its athletic year with one of the most important statistics you will see — a 75% graduation rate for its athletes.

What’s even more impressive is the 79% it achieved last spring.

The reality for athletes at Division II schools is the chance to make it as a professional athlete is slim. There are currently no former WSSU players in the NFL or the NBA. So earning a degree while on scholarship can open doors after graduation.

One of the interesting aspects of the high graduation rate at WSSU is how the athletes have to be accountable.

George Knox, the interim athletics director, said athletes are not allowed to miss class time for practice. And when they do have to be out of class for games or matches, there are programs in place to help athletes succeed.

Another important factor is money for athletes after their scholarships have ended. If an athlete is short by a few credits for graduation the athletic department can help those former athletes stay in school to earn the degree.

And speaking of graduation, if you haven’t seen the video of Willie Crandell, a star basketball player, celebrating walking across the stage and getting his degree, it's well worth your time.

Looking for news on Winston-Salem State athletics? Subscribe to the Journal’s exclusive newsletter that caters to Rams fans.

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