Thirteen of the 68 teams in the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament have a 100 percent Graduation Success Rate, according to NCAA-released statistics.
There are dozens of different types of brackets set up around the NCAA basketball tournament. Best mascots, best fans, best campuses, best nickname – you can find them all if you look.
But there is one bracket not directly involved with basketball that can be verified and carries some weight to it – the Academic Performance Brackets.
InsideHigherEd.com, a 10-year-old website that disseminates news about higher education, devised its rules for rating the winner of the NCAA tournament from an academic standpoint. To see the bracket, click here. Insidehighered.com has done this form of the tournament each of the 10 years it has been in operation. Belmont University, a private school in Tennessee, beat out Kansas in the final this year, while Arizona and Duke made the Final Four.
Meanwhile, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida issued its report on the academic standards at the 68 schools in the men’s tournament and found that graduation rates (GSR) and academic progress rates (APR) have improved.
“There is good news to report as almost every category examined got better,’’ said Dr. Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study and the director of TIDES, to sportsbusinessnews.com. “The GSR numbers for white male basketball student-athletes increased from 89 percent in 2014 to 93 percent in 2015. The GSR for African-American male basketball student-athletes increased from 65 percent in 2014 to 69 percent in 2015.”
Lapchick noted in his report the large gap between graduation rates of white athletes and African-American athletes, which is 24 percent. The good news, according to Lapchick, is that African-American basketball playing student athletes graduate at a rate 27 percent higher than non-athlete African-American athletes among NCAA schools.
TIDES got its statistics from the NCAA. The GSR looks at the graduation rates of players based on a six-year program. The APR is a four-year average of academic performance that gives higher scores when student-athletes remain eligible and continue their education at the same school. The APR standard is a score of 930, and teams that score below 930 can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. For the 2015 tournament, only Coastal Carolina was below the 930 mark.
According to TIDES:
The website started with the bracket just as it is set up for the basketball games; they did not reseed based on academics or academic reputation.
Then, insiderhighered.com compared schools based on their APR, followed by their GSR. When those two numbers failed to declare a winner, it used the Federal Graduation Rate, which determines graduation percentages differently than the NCAA.
In that bracket, Kansas beat Arizona in one semifinal, while Belmont topped Duke the second, with Belmont winning the title. The other teams in the Elite Eight were Kentucky, Wisconsin, Davidson, and Louisville, and the Sweet 16 included Valparaiso, Texas, Harvard, Mississippi, UAB, Utah, Dayton and Lafayette.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.