Monday, March 17, 2008

Heels lose to Western Kentucky! Academically ...

Way to go, Hilltoppers! Let’s hear it for Western Kentucky! Its men’s basketball team has won the NCAA tournament ... academically, speaking, that is.

A study released Monday has put the gleaming college sports machines that power March Madness in an alternate spotlight. It focuses on the 64 schools’ graduation rates, which prove that having a big name in hoops doesn’t mean you have a great follow-through. There are troubling gaps between black and white players, and the biggest winners on the court don’t always come out on top in the classroom.

Here’s what the Associated Press reported:
“If the Final Four were determined academically, it would be Western Kentucky (100 percent graduation success), Butler (92 percent), Notre Dame (91 percent) and Purdue (91 percent). Xavier, a No. 3 seed, was close behind with a 90 percent success rate.North Carolina was the only school among the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men’s tournament to graduate at least 50 percent of its players. Eighty-six percent of UNC Tar Heels’ players earned diplomas during a six-year period. The other top seeds were far worse: 45 percent at Kansas and 40 percent at UCLA and Memphis. The study was conducted by Richard Lapchick, head of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

Lapchick’s primary concern was the disparity between black and white players. Thirty-three schools graduated at least 70 percent of their white men’s basketball players; only 19 graduated that many black players. At least 50 percent of white players earned degrees at 45 schools, but black athletes had that much success at only 36 schools.”
What about it? Are priorities out of whack? What’s an acceptable six-year graduation rate for a college athletic team? Should a school with a poor academic success record get a bid to the prestigious NCAA tourney?


Anonymous said...

I've said for several years that it would be relatively easy for the NCAA to factor grad rates into metrics like RPI (in hoops) and the BCS rankings (in football) to inflate/deflate team scores and hence standings in those sports.

But it'll never happen.


Anonymous said...

What is lost in these statistics is where did the players go? Did they go to the NBA early? Early entry to the NBA is much different than completing 4 or 6 years of college without a degree and no prospect of a future outside of basketball. UNC-Chapel Hill graduated 86% of players after 6 years, which exceeds the 6-year rate for the student body at large of 84%. The data is as of 1999, the most recent available from the University.