ORLANDO, FL - The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida has today released its annual study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Success and Academic Progress Rates for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams,” which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament-bound teams. The study examines the Graduation Success Rates (GSR) and Academic Progress Rates (APR) for the tournament teams as reported by the NCAA. The study also compares the performance in the classroom for African-American and white basketball student-athletes. Dr. Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study, 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 Michael Kuhn and Elizabeth Schulz.
Lapchick noted, “The report presents good news about the overall graduation rates, which continued to rise for both white and African-American basketball student-athletes.
Academic Progress Rates also rose. However, the staggering gap between the graduation rates of African-American and white student-athletes grew by four percentage points to an even more unacceptable 32 percent. This was the third successive year that the gap grew from 22 percent in 2009 to 28 percent in 2010 to the current 32 percent.
“There was a two percentage point increase for all male basketball student-athletes to 66 percent, while 91 percent of white and 59 percent of African-American men’s Division I basketball student-athletes graduate. That was a seven percentage point increase for white male basketball student-athletes and a three percentage point increase for African-American male basketball student-athletes compared to last year’s study.”
Based on the GSR, 51 teams or 76 percent of the total graduated at least 50 percent of their basketball student-athletes (up from 69 percent in 2010). In addition, 42 teams (63 percent, a five percentage point increase from 2010) graduated at least 60 percent and 32 teams (48 percent, a three percentage point increase from 2010) graduated at least 70 percent. Only seven teams (10 percent, significantly down from 19 percent in 2010) graduated less than 40 percent.
Lapchick emphasized that “the GSR, developed in late 2005, provides a more accurate picture of the success student-athletes have in the classroom at NCAA member institutions. The GSR tells us far more than the Federal Graduation Ratesi did in the past. Also, by utilizing four years of Academic Progress Rates (APR) data, a far better depiction of the academic performance of student-athletes is illustrated. Thus the APR rates are an important part of this study.”
Lapchick went on to say, “For years we have noted the deeply troubling disparity between the GSR of African-American and white men’s basketball student-athletes. While the actual graduation rates of African-American basketball student-athletes continue to increase, the gap increased to 32 percentage points! An ESPN poll conducted for Martin Luther King Day this year indicated that the greatest concern of both whites and African-Americans in the general public was this disparity. Hopefully that concern will generate new resources to address this problem.”
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 50 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 last year, teams that receive three straight years of historical penalties (below 900 APR or approximately a 45 percent GSR) face the potential of restrictions on postseason competition for the team, in addition to scholarship and practice restrictions.
In this year’s men’s Division I basketball tournament, 10 teams have APR scores below 925. This is a significant improvement from 19 teams in 2010 and of the 21 men’s teams below the 925 score in 2009. Also, there were 41 teams (60 percent) with an APR of 950 or above, 36 teams (53 percent) with an APR of 960 or above and 26 teams (38 percent) with an APR of 970 or above.
Lapchick continued, “Race remains a continuing academic issue. By itself, the increased 32 percentage point gap between graduation rates for white and African-American student-athletes demonstrates that.