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March Madness of graduation rates: U-Conn. loses, Notre Dame wins
The next few weeks will be dedicated to the American pastime of picking a bracket, watching hours-upon-hours of college basketball and then, perhaps, cashing in on bets placed on the abilities of high-salaried coaches and unsalaried student athletes.
Here’s something to ponder: How many of those players will leave the court with a college degree?
Each spring the University of Central Florida Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport analyzes NCAA academic statistics for the 68 schools that make it to the Big Dance. This year the institute found a slight improvement in the percentage of male basketball players who receive a degree within six years of starting college. For the latest cohort of players, 67 percent graduated, up from 66 percent last year. Eight of the schools saw 100 percent of their players graduate.
Researchers also found there is still an “enormous gap” between the graduation rates of white and African American players, and at more than half of the schools, that disparity was more than 30 percent.
The NCAA has been examining ways to hold schools more accountable for their players’ success off the court, and many top coaches now sign multi-year contracts that allow them to earn five-digit bonuses for the academic performance of their players.
For example, Virginia Commonwealth University Coach Shaka Smart is paid $4,000 for each player he recruits who graduates soon after no longer being eligible to play, and $2,000 for each player who graduates within a year of no longer being eligible to play, according to a contract signed in June 2011. Most recently, 67 percent of VCU players graduated within six years, less than the school’s overall athlete rate of 78 percent.
Last year’s national champion, the University of Connecticut, has the lowest rate in the group, with just one out of four players earning a degree within six years. For all U-Conn. student athletes, the graduation rate is 81 percent. U-Conn. officials explain basketball’s low rate by pointing out, among other things, that many of their players are recruited to play professional basketball before getting a degree.
Head coach Jim Calhoun’s contract, signed in May 2010, states that academics are an “important aspect of his responsibilities.” If the NCAA were to revoke scholarship funds from the university as a penalty for not meeting academic benchmarks, the contract requires Calhoun to donate $100,000 to a scholarship fund.
The institute has compiled statistics for all 68 teams into a report, and I popped the six-year graduation rates for basketball players into a bracket. Here are the winners of each round:
The First Four: Western Kentucky University (100 percent) beats Mississippi Valley State University (35 percent). Brigham Young University (100) beats Iona College (53). University of Vermont (86) beats Lamar University (65). University of South Florida (44) beats University of California, Berkeley (33).
Second Round (South): W. Kentucky (100) beats University of Kentucky (69). Iowa State University (45) beats U-Conn. (25). Wichita State University (92) beats VCU (67). Indiana University, Bloomington (47) beats New Mexico State University (28). University of Nevada, Las Vegas (67) beats University of Colorado, Boulder (43). Baylor University (56) beats South Dakota State University (50). University of Notre Dame (100) beats Xavier University (93). Duke University (100) beats Lehigh University (85).
Second Round (West): Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus (91) beats Michigan State University (82). Saint Louis University (67) beats University of Memphis (55). University of New Mexico (57) beats Long Beach State University (45). Davidson College (100) beats University of Louisville (56). Colorado State University (64) beats Murray State University (56). BYU (100) beats Marquette University (91). University of Virginia (50) beats University of Florida (38). University of Missouri, Columbia (67) beats Norfolk State University (43).
Second Round (East): University of North Carolina, Asheville (57) beats Syracuse University (54). Kansas State University (50) beats University of Southern Mississippi (42). Harvard University (100) beats Vanderbilt University (93). University of Montana (75) beats University of Wisconsin, Madison (50). University of Texas at Austin (67) beats University of Cincinnati (56). Florida State University (67) beats St. Bonaventure University (65). West Virginia University (83) beats Gonzaga University (73). Loyola University Maryland (92) beats Ohio State University (57).
Second Round (Midwest): University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (89) beats Vermont (86). Creighton University (100) beats University of Alabama (67). South Florida (44) beats Temple University (43). Ohio University (79) beats University of Michigan (45). North Carolina State University (80) beats San Diego State University (62). Belmont University (100) beats Georgetown University (70). St. Mary’s College of California (82) beats Purdue University (50). University of Kansas (91) beats University of Detroit Mercy (89).
Third Round (South): W. Kentucky (100) beats Iowa State (45). Wichita State (92) beats Indiana (47). UNLV (67) beats Baylor (56). Notre Dame (100) ties with Duke University (100) — so we then look at the schools’ graduation rates for all student athletes; Notre Dame wins with 99 percent, over Duke’s 97 percent.
Third Round (West): Long Island (91) beats Saint Louis (67). Davidson (100) beats New Mexico (57). BYU (100) beats Colorado State (64). Missouri (67) beats Virginia (50).
Third Round (East): UNC Asheville (57) beats Kansas State (50) . Harvard (100) beats Montana (75). Texas (67) ties with Florida State (67), in a rematch using student athlete graduation rates, Florida State (79) beats Texas (74). Loyola (92) beats West Virginia (83).
Third Round (Midwest): Creighton (100) beats North Carolina (89). Ohio (79) beats South Florida (44). Belmont (100) beats N. Carolina State (80). Kansas (91) beats St. Mary’s (82).
Sweet Sixteen: W. Kentucky (100) beats Wichita State (92). Notre Dame (100) beats UNLV (67). Davidson (100) beats Long Island (91). BYU (100) beats Missouri (67). Harvard (100) beats UNC Asheville (57). Loyola (92) beats Florida State (67). Creighton (100) beats Ohio (79). Belmont (100) beats Kansas (91).
Elite Eight: Nearly everyone has a 100-percent graduation rate for basketball players, so we will switch to rates for student athletes. Notre Dame (99) beats W. Kentucky (80). Davidson (97) beats BYU (76). Harvard (98) beats Loyola (96). Creighton (96) beats Belmont (91).
Final Four: Notre Dame (99) beats Davidson (97). Harvard (98) beats Creighton (96).
National Champion: Notre Dame.
How many players will leave the court with a college degree? At powerhouse University of Connecticut, only one in four.
Spring Game Only Six Weeks Away... Who will make an Impact?
olson will be popular amongst fans. We need to see him tear it up if Irish fans are going to have any faith in the position this fall.
I think Hendrix will have another great showing. Last year he was the most impressive of the quarterbacks, getting it done with his legs.
Gunner will be interesting as well. We should see if he's ready for the college level or if he needs a lot of development.
How will the receivers progress without the threat of Floyd? We don't have a single player that demands a double team. It will be interesting to see if someone emerges as a number one.
D line. I can't wait to see Lynch a year older. Ishaq should be making major contributions too.
I will say Golson as my MVP. I hope he has a big day running and passing. I think Gunner is going to impress some skeptics as well.
I wanna see how Bennett Jackson and Tee look the corners. We got burned by our DB's a lot in 2011
spring games are for the fans. the vast majority of players hate them and are a poor place to evaluate progress. if coaches had their druthers they'd rather have an extra day of practice.
I am a big Golson supporter and are rooting for him to win the job. However, I am only putting so much stock in a meaningless spring game. I cant wait to see all the ND hater fans turn on this kid and Kelly if he doesn't play well in the game.
Anyone have an idea what type of offense Kelly will run? With Golson at QB, I'm hoping he calls a few option plays, just to see how well he does.
My bold prediction for the spring game is that Tommy will be one of the starting QB's and this board will go absolutely crazy... even though it means absolutely nothing.
If you rationally think about it, Gunner isnt starting so 2 out of Hendrix, Golson and Tommy will start and as the incumbent starter last year, it almost makes sense for Tommy to start considering the game means absolutely nothing. Doesnt mean the fans wont go bonkers though.
True...UNLESS both Golson and Hendrix deserve to start then they should. Hope so. Their upside is so much higher than Rees and they need all the work they can get. The QB in 2012 needs to win games for us.
Gunner will be a fan favorite. We don't know what kind of offense the iIrish will run because BK doesn't know. Keep this in mind. Whoever the starting QB is for Navy might not be the same starting QB for Miami or Stanford. Come Navy, some of you are going to be very upset at who is behind Center. Visions of grandeur will soon make way to reality. The best part of this whole thing is we won't have Dayne Crist to kick around anymore.
Its not a bold prediction. I am sure you are right. But in my opinion any snaps given to Tommy are wasted. Everyone knows what he can do and he hit his ceiling last year and he should be the #3 this year.
Just like Hendrix should have been given more reps last year, especially leading up to the bowl game. Kelly wasted alot of potential practice time there and it showed. Hopefully he changes his philosophy in 2012.
mir Carlisle will go off and make us all excited for 2013
No one will make an IMPACT. This is nothing but a glorified scrimmage, and all the coaches want out of it is for no one to get injured.
Anyone expecting to see fireworks will be utterly disappointed.
Disturbing trend for Notre Dame?
CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said Notre Dame's loss of cornerback Tee Shepard was horrible for the team. Shepard, a four-star recruit, decided to leave the university and
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