ORLANDO (AP) – A study of 70 schools selected for college football bowl games this season shows they maintained high academic progress, but the gap between African-American and white players persists.

The report released Monday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport shows overall Graduation Success Rate improvement from 68 to 69 percent for athletes at the bowl-bound schools.

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Also, 97 percent of schools received a score higher than the target 925 on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate. Teams with a four-year APR of 925 or below face penalties including loss of scholarships.

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This year’s numbers show an average gap of 20 percentage points between the graduation rate of white and African-American players. But primary study author Richard Lapchick notes it’s encouraging that the rate for African-American athletes has risen consistently recently.

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