Friday, March 26, 2004


It's always interesting to look at the graduation rates of NCAA tournament teams this time of year.

The numbers below are % graduation rates for men's basketball student athletes. Data does not include transfers and counts student-athletes who receive a degree within six years of arriving on campus. Here are some of the lowlights highlights, in order from highest to lowest, from teams appearing in the "Sweet 16":

Kansas - 73%
Duke - 67%
Xavier - 67%
Vanderbilt - 62%
Illinois - 46%
Wake Forest - 46%
St. Joseph's - 44%
Syracuse - 40%
Texas - 38%
Georgia Tech - 27%
Connecticut - 27%

These numbers are for all players. There is currently a storm brewing over the release of graduation rates of African-American men's and women's basketball players:

...but now the NCAA has quietly adjusted the graduation rates to satisfy ''a new interpretation'' of federal laws which say that information on any category containing only one or two students ''must be suppressed.'' In basketball, which has far fewer players than football or baseball teams, the new rules amount to liberation from any accountability whatsoever on the part of college athletic departments and their presidents.
Because of the new rules, 37 of the 65 men's teams in this year's tournament did not publish graduation rates of their African-American players. Sixteen schools published no graduation rates at all.

Nine of the 16 schools that mysteriously had no graduation rate whatsoever just happen to include last year's most hideous offenders, such as:

Alabama (0 percent for black men and 13 percent overall in the 2002 report).

Cincinnati (0 percent for black men, 17 percent overall).

Louisville (0 for black men, 10 percent overall).

Kentucky (13 percent and 33 percent overall).

Southern Illinois (14 percent for black men and 27 percent overall).

Memphis (0 period).

Nevada (0 percent for black men, 20 percent overall).

Virginia Commonwealth (0 period).

Alabama State (0 period).

The ''new rules'' did not stop the schools with good and great graduation rates from publishing them, even when the numbers of players on scholarship are obviously similar to the schools that withheld the information. Kansas, Air Force, Manhattan, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, Central Florida, Duke, Princeton, Valparaiso, Stanford, Monmouth and Xavier all had African-American player graduation rates of at least 67 percent.

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