The academic performance of Gophers athletes continues to steadily improve -- both in comparison to past years at the school and in comparison to Big Ten peers -- according to the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate report released Thursday.

U of M athletes had a GSR of 83 percent from data covering freshmen and incoming transfers between 2002 and 2005, an increase of 3 percent over last year and a jump from 67 percent when the NCAA first started releasing GSR data in 2005.

Perhaps most significant are strides made in football and men's basketball, two sports that have lagged. The football GSR improved from 59 percent to 69 percent in the past year, while the men's basketball rate jumped from 43 percent to 54 percent. Football was tied for last in the Big Ten a year ago, while men's basketball ranked last. This year, football is tied for seventh; men's basketball is ninth -- improved, though there is room for more improvement.

Seven U of M teams had 100 percent grad rates: women's basketball, rowing, softball, women's tennis, volleyball, men's gymnastics and wrestling.

"Academic success and degree completion are important components of our vision for Gopher Athletics and I am proud of the achievements of our student-athletes," Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague said in a statement, also noting that all but three Gophers teams had a cumulative GPA above 3.0 as of the end of spring semester.