Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Academics v. athletics: NCAA, one-and-done

Before this year's college basketball championship fades from memory, here's some news. The Kansas Jayhawks won! Not the actual basketball tourney, of course. Kentucky took the title Monday, beating Kansas 67-59.

But the Jayhawks bested the Wildcats in a place where, in my estimation, it counts more - in the classroom. Annual analysis recently of graduation success rates and academic progress of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Teams shows Kansas graduates 91 percent of its players and Kentucky just 69 percent.

In a mock tourney, the 2012 Inside Higher Ed Academic Performance Tournament, Kansas was dubbed the winner over its opponent in this championship. That opponent? Davidson College which graduates 100 percent of its male basketball students.
Kansas and Kentucky, the last ones standing for the actual athletic contest on Monday, were both dubbed academically good enough to be part of the mock academic tournament.

Still, Kentucky coach's John Calipari's one-and-done philosophy for winning is nothing to cheer. That philosophy, used to recruit players who plan to go to the NBA in a year, is anathema to the idea of a "student athlete." There is simply no incentive to be a committed student knowing you're not staying to get a degree and will only be on campus a year.

Like Chris Stankovich, a national sport performance expert and others, I think one-and-done should be outlawed. NBA draft rules should be consistent with the NFL draft rules that say NCAA football players aren’t eligible for the NFL draft until they have been out of high school for three years. Requiring at least three years of school for basketballers as well makes sense. Steve Kerr, John Thompson and others talk compellingly about why there needs to be a change in a piece for the Arizona Republic.

The sad truth is that the men's NCAA Division 1 basketball players have one of the worst graduation rates in college sports. According to a study by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, more than a dozen schools didn't graduate at least half their players in recent seasons. The study looked at how many players completed their degrees in six years. Among the more egregious big name schools were the University of Connecticut, which graduates 25 percent of its players; the University of Florida which graduates 38 percent; Michigan which graduates 45 percent, and Indiana which graduates 47 percent.

The numbers are even worse when African American players are separated out. Florida, for instance, only graduates 20 percent of its black players. The University of California at Berkeley only graduates 14 percent.

The gulf between the graduation rates of black and white student-athletes who are basketball players has narrowed a bit, said Richard Lapchick, primary author of the study. But that narrowing has been because the graduation rates of whites has gone down. Geez.

Students deserve better. The NCAA has a lot of work to do to preserve the integrity of the word, student-athlete.

Posted by associate editor Fannie Flono


Anonymous said...

I could not agree more... Kentucky's "philosophy" of "student athletes" has tarnished the NCAA's propaganda beyond recognition. Seeing it as anything more than the "training league" for the NBA is simply a joke.

Anonymous said...

Blame athletes, schools, and administration plus professional sports equally for causing such fraud corruption while abusing and misusing NCAA colleges and universities as a training farm system for the pros.

Make one and done NONE and DONE.

America needs all the quality educated brains it can muster to compete with the Chinese and others in the future. End the sports fraud and corruption.

Develop minor league basketball and football like baseball in 100s of small to mid sized cities across America and open 1000s of new jobs in the process. Those who make the grade out of high school earn a paycheck on their way to the pros while taxpayers save billions.

That is the solution.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above, but I believe,as in other sports, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, just to name a few, there should not be an age restriction for entering pro-sports. The NCAA could polish its image by merely allowing these young men and women to proceed directly from high school to the pros without restrictions. What Kentucky does is to take what the rules provide. Is Kentucky taking advantage? Well ,yes. However Kentucky did not create the rules.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Basketball should be designed just like baseball. If a kid is good enough to enter the NBA draft out of high school, then they enter and no college. If they sign an NLI, they must complete 3 years of college. NBA must back proposal and not allow anyone playing outside the US to enter NBA until they are 21 years old or have satisfied the requirement so no skipping off to Europe for a year and then back. Fact is, most of those players lack maturity and the skills needed after basketball to be successful citizens. NBA has money for incoming millionaires to be trained in financial management. Most kids get into trouble with the entourage of people supporting them and the barrage of people coming out of the woodwork looking for "help". College basketball WOULD be more exciting with players playing the minimum of 3 years.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the NCAA has any restrictions on athletes going directly from college to pros. The restiction would be that after playing as a professional, you can't regain amateur status in the same sport, and I have no problem with that. With regard to graduation rates, I think the best way to address that is to have a minimum graduation rate for participation in post season play, including conference championships.

The NBA doesn't care, and in fact uses the present situation to enhance their brand. The get free publicity for the league because of all the "who's coming out, who is staying" and whether a kid can read or not, or whether kids in high school learn to devalue higher education because all their heroes blow it off is so far down on the list of NBA concerns it is invisible. Point in fact, before this years tournement even began, the NBA itself publicized a mock draft based on who might be leaving early. So, my idea is, graduate at least 75% of atheletes within 6 years or kiss championship hopes goodbye. To turn our major universities into farm clubs for the NBA is absurd. The NBA actually has farm teams with the D-League, so it's not about player development, it's about creating star value before a kid even gets in the league. Kentucky should be ashamed.

Garth Vader said...

5:47 must be related to John Connaughton: "while taxpayers save billions".

Uh, taxpayers would be on the hook for all the new minor league arenas and the infrastructure and traffic management personnel to support them. Plus most of the "jobs" created are low-dollar ticket takers and ushers.

Anonymous said...

Blame the NBA for requiring these guys to be a year removed from high school to be draft eligible. If you can't sign a contract for a year, you have to make money somewhere. The NCAA offers that place to have living expenses and disposable income covered for that year. College shouldn't be the the D-League for the NBA.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Flono,

Which institution of higher learning taught you to insert that superfluous comma into your last sentence?

Anonymous said...

I always thought of the word graduate as an active verb - something one did for him/herself.

It now appears graduate has become something done to you or a state of being. e.g. This school graduates 50% of its athletes.

If graduate is now a procedure performed by the administrative class rather than the achievement of the student then couldn't I as a college president simply dumb down my curriculum to graduate everyone?

After all, isn't that how we got the athletes into the school in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Didnt Shinn pay to build Knights baseball park just over the line at Carowinds and bring Triple A for the first time? Didnt PSLs pay for BOA? Didnt Smith pay for his race track?

Taxpayers are being conned again on some stupid downtown baseball park by the usual suspects cramming everything inside the belt sardine can. What a joke.

It is 10 times quicker easier and safer to go I-485-I-77 to Knights stadium that is still basically a new facility.

Bottom line a minor league system is the answer for the NBA and NFL not college.
Owners can pay their own stadiums or arenas or rent existing ones already built.

The least govt involvement the better and jobs are jobs for the idiot complaining about low them being low pay who probably wouldnt work in a pie factory.
Funny owners never never have a problem filling these "low grade" jobs do they?.
Diff stroke for diff folks.

Anonymous said...

Fannie - Kentucky did not make the one and done rule. The NBA player's Association did. Calipari has just taken better advantage of it that other coaches because he is the best recruiter and keeps getting the best players each year. Duke seems to be trying to get on the one and done road now and old Roy would be tickled to have have the one and done kids from this year's Kentucky team.

The kids leaving Kentucky early are going to make more money in the next few years that most college graduates make in a lifetime. Should they stay in school and turn down that money and take a chance on getting hurt?

Garth Vader said...

8:02 - Right On!

8:47 - Ol' Roy pointedly avoids recruiting players who have "handlers" (see: John Wall, Nerlens Noel), serious academic irregularities (Eric Bledsoe, Derrick Rose) or social infirmities (DeMarcus Cousins). Even Anthony Davis gave World Wide Wes, who was sitting behind the UK bench Monday night, a post-game hug.

Yes, World Wide Wes, the elephant in the room - John Calipari's "agent", who gets a cut of PayPal Cal's hefty contract as a reward for following him from Memphis to Lexington.

Anonymous said...

Sports are a cancer that is destroying the UNC System.

Anonymous said...

If the NCAA adminstrator rogues in Indianapolis were really serious about fixing the broken system and saving mega billions of tax dollars for colleges and ataxpayers they would end all athletic scholarships and force all member schools to use walk-ons only who are academically already qualified.

Pay to play the right way. Dont be surprised if this would not only clean up the NCAA and college system and make it more proficient but college sports would actually be much better.

Keep the smart jocks in college and send the dumb jocks to NBA and NFL farm league systems to be weeded out like MLB has done for the past 150 yrs.

josty24 said...

The NCAA should either let the kids sign up for the pros or give a college three year's of time...I agree similar to baseball. Colleges however should do a better job at raising the requirements for athletes to participate in college sports...NCAA raise the academic standards for athlete's to play college sports.