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Oklahoma football team ranks at bottom of conference for graduation rates

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This just has not been one of Bob Stoops' better years. The head football coach at the University of Oklahoma started 2009 off with a loss in the college football championship game against Florida.

But the fall looked better as several players who could have turned pro decided to stay in school and play one more year, including returning Heisman Trophy quarterback Sam Bradford. But the week before the first game, Stoops lost his starting All-American tight end, and during the first game, Bradford left the game with an injury. The Sooners lost.

Four more disappointments since that opening game, and Stoops was on the road to suffering through his worst season yet at OU.

Then last week, the NCAA issued its report on graduation rates for college sports programs. Just where do you think OU figured in that report? Yup, Stoops' program is at the bottom of the list for Big 12 schools. The report checks the graduation status of players from 1999 to 2002, allowing a John "Bluto" Belushi-type schooling period of six years to obtain a degree.

When totaled up, only 45 percent of Stoops' players have tossed the hat into the air and been stamped with the label "graduate," according to The Associated Press. The national Division I average is a graduation rate of 79 percent.

In the coach's defense, since winning the national championship in 2001, Stoops has put forth some of the best players in college football, many who have left school early and earned millions of dollars playing pro ball.

That argument suffices if winning games. But coach, if you are going to lose at least five games in one season, then at least get those graduation rates going in the right direction.

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