Now It’s Time For The Ladies

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: March 20, 2009

ORLANDO — The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida released its annual study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates for 2009 NCAA Women’s and Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Teams,” which compares graduation success rates for Division I teams that have been selected for the women’s and men’s brackets of the 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournaments.

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

The study examines the Graduation Success Rates (GSR) and Academic Progress Rates (APR) for the tournament teams. The study compares the academic performance of male and female basketball student-athletes and of African-American and white basketball student-athletes.

Lapchick emphasized that “women basketball student-athletes do much better academically than men and the gap between the academic success between African-American and white women’s basketball student-athletes is smaller, although still significant, than between African-American and white men’s basketball student-athletes. Women have regularly been the best news academically in college sport.”

Lapchick noted, “The GSR, developed in late 2005, and the four years of APR data provides a more accurate picture of the success student-athletes have in the classroom at NCAA member institutions.

Based on the GSR, 61 women’s teams (98 percent, equal to that in 2008) of the total graduated at least 50 percent of its basketball student-athletes. That compared to 40 men’s teams (63 percent down from 64 percent in 2008).

In addition:

– 60 women’s teams (97 percent, equal to that in 2008) compared to 30 (48 percent, equal to that in 2008) of the men’s teams graduated at least 60 percent.

– 50 women’s teams (81 percent, equal to that in 2008) compared to 22 (35 percent, a one percent increase from 2008) of the men’s teams graduated at least 70 percent.

– One women’s team (equal to that in 2008), North Carolina A&T State, graduated less than 40 percent compared to 15 (24 percent, up from 22 percent in 2008) of the men’s teams.

The NCAA created the APR in 2004 as part of an academic reform package designed to more accurately measure student-athletes’ academic success as well as improve graduation rates at member institutions by providing sanctions in the form of lost scholarships when teams fail to meet the NCAA standard for academic performance.

Teams that score below a 925, which is equivalent to an NCAA GSR rate of approximately 60 percent, can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. Teams can also be subject to historical penalties for poor academic performance over time. Starting next year, teams that receive three straight years of historical penalties (below 900 APR) face the potential of restrictions on postseason competition for the team, in addition to scholarship and practice restrictions.

Of the six women’s teams (9 percent) below the 925 score this year, only the University of Texas at San Antonio will be subject to contemporaneous penalties by the NCAA.

Of the 21 men’s teams (32 percent) below the 925 score this year, seven will be subject to contemporaneous penalties by the NCAA. These teams are Cal State Northridge, Southern California, Cleveland State, Morehead State, Portland State, Purdue and Tennessee. This is a significant improvement from 35 men’s teams (54 percent) below the 925 score in 2008.

Other results from the APR data show how much better women perform academically and include:

– 30 (47 percent) of the women’s tournament teams had an APR of 970 or more vs. nine (14 percent) of the men’s teams, a 33 percent gap.

– 40 (63 percent) of the women’s tournament teams had an APR of 960 or more vs. 18 (28 percent) of the men’s teams, a 35 percent gap.

– 48 (75 percent) of the women’s tournament teams had an APR of 950 or more vs. 23 (35 percent) of the men’s teams, a 40 percent gap.

While there has been general progress with GSR data, Lapchick “remains deeply concerned about the gap between African-American and white basketball student-athletes although it is far less severe among the women. Once again, the results for women stand in stark contrast to the men’s teams.”

Based on Graduation Success Rate data, highlights from the study include the following:

70 percent graduation rates

– 55 of the women’s tournament teams (93 percent, up from 89 percent in 2008) graduated 70 percent or more of their white basketball student-athletes vs. 33 of the men’s teams (58 percent, down from 61 percent in 2008), a 35 percent gap which is up from a 28 percent gap a year ago.

– 37 of the women’s teams (66 percent, up from 61 percent in 2008) graduated 70 percent or more of their African-American basketball student-athletes vs. only 20 of the men’s teams (32 percent up from 30 percent in 2008), a 34 percent gap which is up from a 31 percent gap a year ago.

60 percent graduation rates

– 57 of the women’s tournament teams (97 percent, up from 94 percent in 2008) graduated 60 percent or more of their white basketball student-athletes while 37 of the men’s teams (65 percent, down from 70 percent in 2008) did so, a 32 percent gap which substantially bigger than the 24 percent gap a year ago.

– 48 of women’s teams (86 percent, up from 85 percent in 2007) graduated 60 percent or more of their African-American basketball student-athletes while only 26 of the men’s teams (42 percent, up from 37 percent in 2008) graduated 60 percent, a 44 percent gap which is also substantially bigger than the 34 percent gap a year ago.

50 percent graduation rates

– 59 of the women’s teams (100 percent, up from 98 percent in 2008) graduated 50 percent or more of their white basketball student-athletes vs. 50 of the men’s teams (88 percent up from 83 percent in 2008), a 12 percent gap which is down from a 15 percent gap a year ago.

– 52 of the women’s teams (93 percent, up from 90 percent in 2008) graduated 50 percent or more of their African-American basketball student-athletes while 31 of the men’s teams (50 percent, down from 57 percent in 2008) did so, a 43 percent gap which is significantly up from a 33 percent gap a year ago.

Lapchick noted, “NCAA President Myles Brand led the movement for academic reform and his efforts are paying dividends. Schools are responding to the potential loss of scholarships. African-American student-athletes are doing better recently according to the overall GSR.

“However, there can be no doubt that race is an ongoing academic issue because of the continued gap between graduation rates for white and African-American student-athletes. The gap is too significant to ignore.”

Graduation success rates for all men’s Division I basketball student-athletes have gone up slightly since last year. GSR data indicates that 65 percent (up one percent) of male Division I basketball student-athletes graduate.

White men’s Division I basketball student-athletes graduate at 80 percent (down one percent) while 58 percent (up one percent) of African-American men’s Division I basketball student-athletes graduate. This 22 percent difference is down two percent from last year but still is a cause for alarm in spite of the continued overall improvements.

GSR data indicates that 82 percent of female Division I basketball student-athletes graduate. White female basketball student-athletes graduate at 89 percent, while 75 percent of African-American female basketball student-athletes graduate. This 14 percent is slightly improved from a 16 percent gap a year ago.

However, African-American male and female basketball players graduate at a higher rate than African-American male and female students who are not student-athletes. Male students graduate at a rate of 58 percent, which is seven percent less than the GSR for male basketball student-athletes.

The graduation rate for African-American male students as a whole is only 38 percent, versus the overall rate of 61 percent for male white students, which is a terrible 23 percentage point gap. Female students graduate at a rate of 64 percent, which is 18 percent less than the GSR for female basketball student-athletes.

The graduation rate for African-American female students as a whole is only 49 percent, versus the overall rate of 66 percent for female white students, which is still a disturbing 17 percentage point gap. Our predominantly white campuses too often are not welcoming places for students of color, whether or not they are athletes. These gaps are down one percent from those of a year ago.

Lapchick noted that, “In addition, schools are recruiting many of our African-American basketball players from urban areas. Too many urban schools are underfunded and cannot deliver the resources that would level the academic playing field.”

“This makes it far more difficult for student-athletes and students in general to be successful. In the meantime, admissions officers need to admit only students who can succeed academically.”

More distressing results from the GSR data are:

– 12 women’s tournament teams (23 percent, down from 24 percent in 2008) and 20 men’s tournament teams (36 percent, up from 34 percent in 2008) have graduation success rates for African-American basketball student-athletes that were at least 30 percent lower than their rates for white basketball student-athletes.

– 19 women’s teams (36 percent, up from 35 percent in 2008) and 25 men’s teams (45 percent, up from 44 percent in 2008) 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, “As always, there are schools that win big enough to be here in March and graduate their student-athletes. We could not pick a Top Ten for women because 14 schools had a 100 percent graduation rate. They included: Connecticut, DePaul, Evansville, Florida, Lehigh, Marist College, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Sacred Heart, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas at Austin, Vanderbilt, and Villanova.

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 women’s percentages were calculated as follows:

1. Overall rates were based on 62 teams. (Dartmouth, like other Ivy League Schools, does not report graduation rates. South Dakota State also did not report graduation rates.)

2. Rates for African-American student-athletes were based on 56 teams. (In additional to Dartmouth and South Dakota State not reporting graduation rates, Evansville, Marist College, Montana, Sacred Heart, and Wisconsin, Green Bay and Iowa State had no African-American basketball student-athletes in the graduating class in the NCAA data from which the study’s data was gathered.)

3. Rates for white student-athletes were based on 59 teams. (In additional to Dartmouth and South Dakota State not reporting graduation rates, Prairie View A&M, Cal, Berkeley, and North Carolina A&T had no white basketball student-athletes in the graduating class in the period under review.)

4. The disparity figures are based on 53 teams because Dartmouth and South Dakota State not report graduation rates. In addition, Evansville, Marist College, Montana, Sacred Heart, and Wisconsin, Green Bay, Iowa State, Prairie View A&M, Cal, Berkeley, and North Carolina A&T had either no white or black basketball student-athletes.