A study of graduation rates for teams in the men’s college basketball championship tournament shows levels little changed, with Harvard University and Duke University among eight schools at 100 percent.
The analysis also found a high disparity between the graduation rates for white and black players.
The study by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports showed the average increased to 67 percent this year from 66 percent for the 2011 tournament field in the Graduate Success Rate, or GSR, which measures how many athletes graduate within six years of entering school. White players graduated at an 88 percent rate compared with 60 percent for blacks, according to the report.
“The most troubling statistic in our study is the continuing large disparity between the GSR of white basketball student-athletes and African-American basketball student-athletes,” said Richard Lapchick, author of the study and chairman of Central Florida’s DeVos Sports Business Management Graduate Program.
He called the gap “embarrassing” even though it was down from the previous study. The primary reason for the smaller gap is that the graduation rates of white student-athletes declined this year to 88 percent from 91 percent last year, according to the study.
Harvard, in the tournament field for the first time since 1946, and Duke, seeking its fifth National Collegiate Athletic Association championship, were joined at the 100 percent level by Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Belmont, Western Kentucky, Creighton and Davidson.
Vanderbilt, which plays Harvard in their opening game on March 15, and Xavier were both at 93 percent. Connecticut, the defending NCAA champion has the lowest rate at 25 percent. The NCAA said in October that the Huskies would have been barred from last year’s tournament if the association’s grade standards known as the Academic Progress Rate had been in effect. The new rules are being phased in over four years.
Lapchick said that black male basketball players graduate at a much higher rate than black males who aren’t athletes.
The graduation rate for black male students as a whole is 38 percent, 22 percentage points lower than for those on the basketball teams, according to the study.