Retention (or Burnout) Rates in College Track & Field Programs

One of my prime goals with this blog is to uncover bits of pertinent information from Runcruit’s database of 300+ college running programs that may not be easily found elsewhere. Today I’m exploring “retention rates”—namely, the percentage of first-year college runners that stick with their teams to compete through their senior year.

Across Runcruit’s universe of track & field programs, this number averages 54%. Looking at the negative, this means that almost half of college runners potentially burnout and quit their teams during their college career. While the reasons for this can be many, and unrelated to the quality of the programs’ themselves, it may be worthwhile for recruits to consider this data point when weighing their options. Certainly, as evidenced by the lists below, considerable differences exists between college running programs.

Men’s Track & Field Retention Rates

  1. George Washington 100%
  2. Georgia Tech 100%
  3. Providence 90%
  4. Loyola-Chicago 89%
  5. Boston University 85%
  6. Yale 84%
  7. Gonzaga 83%
  8. Virginia Tech 82%
  9. Bradley 81%
  10. Seattle University 80%
  1. Stanford 76%
  2. Florida 73%
  3. Wartburg 66%
  4. Baylor 64%
  5. Oregon 61%
  6. RPI 59%
  7. Virginia 58%
  8. Georgia 56%
  9. Mississippi State 55%
  10. Notre Dame 54%

Top 5:

  1. Georgia Tech 100%
  2. Yale 84%
  3. Bowdoin 76%
  4. Stanford 76%
  5. Johns Hopkins University 75%

Bottom 5:

  1. Emory 48%
  2. Davidson 46%
  3. Carnegie Mellon 39%
  4. Michigan 37%
  5. MIT 35%
  1. Miami (FL) 37%
  2. Arizona State 37%
  3. North Carolina-Wilmington 36%
  4. South Florida 36%
  5. Manhattan 35%
  6. UC Riverside 34%
  7. VMI 33%
  8. Utah State 30%
  9. Louisiana Tech 25%
  10. Ohio State 25%

Women’s Track & Field Retention Rates

  1. Vanderbilt 92%
  2. Holy Cross (MA) 92%
  3. Binghamton 89%
  4. Stanford 85%
  5. Lafayette 84%
  6. Columbia 83%
  7. U of San Diego 81%
  8. Loyola-Chicago 81%
  9. St Joseph’s (PA) 81%
  10. Missouri-Kansas City 81%
  1. Stanford 85%
  2. South Carolina 76%
  3. Centre 75%
  4. Johns Hopkins University 74%
  5. Williams 73%
  6. Virginia 70%
  7. North Carolina 65%
  8. Florida State 64%
  9. Penn 63%
  10. Middlebury 62%

Top 5:

  1. Vanderbilt 92%
  2. Stanford 85%
  3. Columbia 83%
  4. Georgetown 79%
  5. Dartmouth 79%

Bottom 5:

  1. Notre Dame 47%
  2. Pomona-Pitzer 45%
  3. Michigan 42%
  4. Emory 39%
  5. MIT 37%
  1. Central Florida 36%
  2. UC Irvine 35%
  3. Louisiana Tech 33%
  4. Loyola Marymount 33%
  5. Pepperdine 30%
  6. Florida 30%
  7. North Carolina-Wilmington 29%
  8. Texas State 29%
  9. South Florida 20%
  10. Ohio State 0%

Individual retention rate data for both track & field and cross country teams is now available on Runcruit’s college pages.

A high school runner interested in data