Mad about low grad rates

As March Madness gets underway, Education Secretary Arne Duncan is mad about low graduation rates. Ten of the 68 men’s basketball teams in the NCAA tournament are not on track to graduate half of their players.

. . . it is time that the NCAA revenue distribution plan stopped handsomely rewarding success on the court with multimillion-dollar payouts to schools that fail to meet minimum academic standards.

As a Chicago teen (a tall one), Duncan “spent time on the court with inner-city players who had been used and dumped by their universities. When the ball stopped bouncing, they struggled to find work and had difficult lives.”

Low scorers on the Academic Progress Index include Syracuse and Kansas State, Duncan writes. “At Kansas State in recent years, 100 percent of white players graduated, but just 14 percent of black players did.”

On the flip side, eight teams in the tournament graduate all their players,  black and white: Belmont, Brigham Young, Illinois, Notre Dame, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Villanova and Wofford.

If the top 16 teams competed on academics, the Final Four would be Notre Dame, BYU, University of North Carolina and Duke, concludes Education Sector, which uses the graduation success rate, or GSR.

University of Connecticut, with a GSR of 31 percent, is knocked out first, followed by low-graduating Kentucky, Texas, Kansas, and Florida.

Both Notre Dame and BYU boast a 100 percent GSR. Ed Sector gives the win to Notre Dame based on its higher campus-wide graduation rate.

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