March 18, 2010

Education Secretary Wants No Post-Season Play for Low-Graduation Schools: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has proposed to the NCAA that schools with graduation rates of less than 40% should be banned from postseason collegiate play. If such a rule was in place today, the following basketball teams wouldn't be in the NCAA basketball tournament: Arkansas-Pine Bluff (graduation rate 29%), Baylor (36%), California (20%), Clemson (37%), Georgia Tech (38%), Kentucky (31%), Louisville (38%), Maryland (8%), Missouri (36%), New Mexico State (36%), Tennessee (30%) and Washington (29%). Duncan asks, "If you can't graduate two out of five of your student-athletes, how serious are you about the academic part of your mission?"

posted by rcade to general at 12:23 PM - 13 comments

I love this. I love it double because I expect the number of women's programs from the above schools banned from the post season would be just about zero.

posted by Adept at 12:01 PM on March 18, 2010

I... can actually agree with that. The 'student' athletes for some of these schools are basically uncompensated employees of the school's valued revenue stream (even as the coaches are millionaires, the TV and gambling industry make billions, and the fans rave about the 'purity' of the sport).

I'd like to see the athletes compensated fairly or alter the NCAA rules such that if they or the school can't fulfill the student part of the student-athlete mandate, they ought not be wasting their time with recreational activities while their studies go untended!

posted by hincandenza at 12:03 PM on March 18, 2010

I one I was shocked at was Cal, 20%, one of the most highly regarded and difficult universities in the country to get into. I wonder what Mike Silver will say about this.

posted by gfinsf at 12:04 PM on March 18, 2010

The NCAA should make schools put their graduation rate prominently on the uniforms. Let the whole world know the quality of education they're providing.

posted by rcade at 12:18 PM on March 18, 2010

All for it!

rcade, maybe each player's number should be their GPA.

posted by dviking at 12:24 PM on March 18, 2010

dviking, maybe the best post ever! 1.2, 0.8 playing 3.9 sitting out because he studies too much and doesn't have time to get tatoos.

posted by gfinsf at 12:33 PM on March 18, 2010

I like where he's going with this, but he also seems to be ignoring the fact that there are a lot of things affecting these numbers that are out of the colleges' control. There's nothing the school can do if a kid drops out as soon as his senior basketball season is over.

posted by hootch at 01:18 PM on March 18, 2010

First of all, I assume that Secretary Duncan was speaking of student-athletes and not the student population in general. If not, then it would seem that his idea would only serve to promote a lowering of academic standards. If he is addressing only the graduation rates in athletic programs, then I strongly agree with the sentiment in Secretary Duncan's idea, but until the NBA refuses to draft players who have completed only one year of college (and then usually with only 1 semester of real courses), the plan is doomed to fail. Perhaps the universities could refuse to allow any player who does not have the potential and the will to graduate to enter the school (this is called an academic selection process, and it's what your non-athlete kid and mine have to pass). Of course, the first school to do this would suddenly find itself subject to legal action on an equal opportunity basis. Maybe the only solution is to establish a real minor league system for the NBA (and perhaps the NFL as well). Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League seem to do well enough with kids who have remained in college, although too many NHL players enter college relatively late and stay for only a year or 2.

On edit, I see that NBA entrants and transfers have not been counted, but still there remains the lure of the NBA for some marginally academic players. These will drop out after a year when they realize that they aren't good enough and can't hack the studies.

posted by Howard_T at 01:25 PM on March 18, 2010

I whole heartedly support the concept behind this idea. However, the way that they calculate the graduation rate need to be corrected before they can enforce it.

As it currently is calculated, a player still counts against the graduation rate as an ungraduated player even if they graduate from another school. Also, if a player transfers in and graduates from your university, they do not count for your graduation rate.

Edit: Will the education secretary be expecting the NCAA to use The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida statistics or their own. The official NCAA graduation rates as found on their website do not account for transfers or the players who depart for the NBA. I do not see the NCAA allowing a third party to judicate this for them.

While it is a good thing for groups such as the IDES to be looking at the graduation rates, perhaps someone should be taking a much closer look at the percentage of "special talent" exemptions that are allowing these athletes who are not academically viable to enter the university in the first place.

posted by Demophon at 01:37 PM on March 18, 2010

My counter-proposal is that schools should be required to give any scholarship athlete fully paid tuition (doesn't have to include room and board, but maybe it should) until they earn their degree. Even if a student is there one year before they try for the NBA draft, then the school should be required to allow the player to still have the option of an education on the university's dime.

posted by drezdn at 03:26 PM on March 18, 2010

On a slightly contrarian note, wouldn't this just encourage schools to fudge their athletes' academic progress/graduation stats even more?

posted by owlhouse at 04:28 PM on March 18, 2010

What a stupid idea. Let's get real, these guys are there because they play basketball. I'm sure the universities, coaches, and CBS would just love to lose millions if this were implemented. And talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Maybe Arne shouldn't have his job as S of E, because the graduation rates for Chicago Public Schools went down and gang related deaths of school age children went up when he was the Superintendent.

posted by Shotput at 06:02 PM on March 18, 2010

I one I was shocked at was Cal, 20%, one of the most highly regarded and difficult universities in the country to get into.

I wonder if a school being difficult contributes to its lower graduation late? I know personally how difficult another school on that list, Georgia Tech, is and am not surprised at a low graduation rate.

I also didn't notice: Does the graduation rate include guys who don't drop out? I'm talking about students who might take 5 years to graduate.

posted by jmd82 at 06:07 PM on March 18, 2010

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