Another NCAA bracket: Player graduation rates
Here's yet another factor that might help you fill out your NCAA bracket: Athlete graduation rates for the 65 teams headed to the basketball tournament.
Each year the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida releases a study examining the graduation rates of basketball players. This year the overall graduation rate for players is 64 percent, slightly up from last year.
Of the 65 tournament teams, 44 graduated at least half of their basketball student-athletes and 29 teams graduated at least 70 percent.
The institute picked its Top Ten for Graduation Success Rates (all of these schools had graduation rates over 90 percent): BYU, Marquette, Notre Dame, Utah State, Wake Forest, Wofford, Duke, Lehigh, Vermont and Villanova.
Among the No. 1 seeds, Duke has a 92 percent graduation success rate, followed by Kansas (73 percent), Syracuse (55 percent) and Kentucky (31 percent).
A dozen teams graduated less than 40 percent of their players. At the bottom of the list is the University of Maryland, which only graduated 8 percent of its student players. The next lowest was California with a 20 percent graduation rate.
The institute used NCAA statistics and studied how many athletes who started college between 1999 and 2002 had graduated within six years. It did not include data from 2008-09.
Terrapins Coach Gary Williams told The Washington Post in a phone interview Monday that the statistics are not significant:
Obviously, those years we had players leave early and they're millionaires now, and they're coming back to get their degrees, just like other guys have come back and gotten their degrees.
Plus we've graduated, let's see, I think it's 10 out of 12 and most recently of our seniors, we'll graduate all four of our seniors this year. Our academic support system has completely changed since 1999-2003. That is ancient facts, and you know it.
See, you'll never put in there that our four seniors will graduate this year or that we've graduated 10 out of our last 12 players. That's my quote. And our academic support system is completely different than it was '99 to 2003. You're talking about eight years ago, seven years ago where things were different.
Plus, we had teams in 2001 and 2002 that won national championships. Terrence Morris left early as a first-round draft choice. . . Steve Blake, you know what he's doing. He's playing for a lot of money. Juan Dixon has made a lot of money during his career, and they both hopefully will come back and get their degrees. Chris Wilcox is a lottery pick, left after his sophomore year. Drew Nicholas did not graduate, but he's had a very successful year, still playing and making a lot of money.
The study also compares graduation rates for white and African American players. This year's study found about 84 percent of white and 56 percent of African American Division I players graduated.
For the tournament teams, 45 teams graduated more than 70 percent of their white players, while only 20 teams graduated more than 70 percent of African American players -- creating a 48 percent gap, a significant increase from last year's study which found a 26 percent gap.
"One of higher education's greatest failures is the persistent gap between African‐American and white students in general," said Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study, in a statement. "This is also true for white and African‐American basketball student‐athletes in particular. The gaps continue to widen, even though the actual graduation rates of African‐American basketball student‐athletes are increasing."
March 16, 2010; 9:50 AM ET
Categories: News Overload | Tags: NCAA, University of Central Florida, University of Maryland
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