A Look at Their Academic Success

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: March 26, 2009

ORLANDO — The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida released a new study on the Graduation Success Rates and Academic Progress Rates of the teams in the men’s and women’s Sweet 16.

It is a follow-up to its annual study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates and Academic Progress Rates (APR) for 2009 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament Teams,” which compared graduation success and academic progress rates for Division I teams that had been selected for the men’s and women’s brackets of the 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournaments.

The author of the study is Dr. Richard Lapchick, who is director of The Institute and of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF. The study was co-authored this year by Will Johnson, Chris Kamke, Cara Lopresti, and Nathalie Reshard.

Lapchick noted “Seven of the Sweet 16 women’s teams had a higher graduation success rate than the men’s team with the highest GSR. In addition, 100 percent of the women’s teams graduated at least 50 percent of its basketball student-athletes compared to 12 men’s teams or 75 percent. Whether it is all 64 teams or the Sweet 16 teams, the women do better than the men academically.”

“There was good news for many of the Sweet 16 men’s and women’s team with their APR rates. There were nine men’s teams (56 percent) and 14 women’s teams (88 percent) with an APR of 950 or above, seven men’s teams (44 percent) and 12 women’s teams (75 percent) with an APR of 960 or above and five men’s teams (31 percent) and eight women’s teams (50 percent) with an APR of 970 or above.”

In this year’s Sweet 16, only Oklahoma and Purdue among the men’s teams (13%) have APR scores below 925. Purdue is the only men’s team that will be subject to contemporaneous penalties by the NCAA. All the women’s teams were above the 925 score.

In addition:

– 16 women’s teams (100 percent) compared to nine of the men’s teams (56 percent) graduated at least 60 percent of their overall basketball student-athletes.

– 12 women’s teams (75 percent) compared to five of the men’s (31 percent) teams graduated at least 70 percent.

– No women’s team graduated less than 40 percent while three of the men’s teams (19 percent) were below that mark.

Lapchick emphasized, “Race remains an ongoing academic issue because of the continued gap between graduation rates for white and African-American student-athletes including a significant disparity between white and African-American basketball student-athletes.”

“The good news is that the GSR rates for both whites and African-Americans are going up and the gap has narrowed slightly. Yet it is the disparity that is troublesome. White male basketball student-athletes graduate at 80 percent versus only 58 percent of African-American male basketball student-athletes.”

“White female basketball student-athletes graduate at 89 percent, while 75 percent of African-American female basketball student-athletes graduate. These 22 and 14 percent disparities are alarming, yet slightly improved from the 24 and 16 percent gaps respectively a year ago.”

Distressing results on the topic of race and academics for the Sweet 16 teams’ GSR data are:

– Two women’s Sweet 16 teams (14 percent) and six men’s Sweet 16 teams (46 percent) have graduation rates for African-American basketball student-athletes that were at least 30 percent lower than their rates for white basketball student-athletes.

– Four women’s teams (29 percent) and eight men’s teams (62 percent) have graduation rates for African-American basketball student-athletes that were at least 20 percent lower than their rates for white basketball student-athletes.

Lapchick concluded that “No matter how many teams we examine, overall women basketball student-athletes succeed academically better than their male counterparts. And no matter whether we look at women’s or men’s college basketball, the gap between the graduation rates of white and African-American basketball student-athletes is too big and must be narrowed.”

“I believe that NCAA President Myles Brand’s reform package is leading us in the right way but the job is not done. The increasing graduation rates and the closing of the gaps show this.”

NCAA statistics were used in the study. The Institute reviewed 2001-02 graduation (six-year) rates, with a four-class average (freshman classes of 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, and 2001-02).

The APR data in this study does not include data from the 2007-08 academic performances of the teams in the study, but instead uses the four-year data from the 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 academic years.

This is the first year without the squad-size adjustment for most teams that was in place until teams accumulated four years of APR data.

Note: The men’s and women’s percentages were calculated as follows:

1. The disparity figures for men’s teams are based on 13 teams because Memphis, Louisville, and Villanova, had no white basketball student-athletes in the graduating class in the period under review.

2. The disparity figures for women’s teams are based on 14 teams because Iowa State had no African-American basketball student-athletes and Cal, Berkeley had no white basketball student-athletes in the graduating class in the period under review.