March 24, 2005
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida released a study prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament, authored by Dr. Richard Lapchick, that analyzed the graduation rates of the programs that qualified for the postseason field. Not surprisingly, the Patriot League's two representatives - the Bucknell men and the Holy Cross women - were at the top of both lists, reporting 100 percent graduation rates for basketball student-athletes.
Lapchick is the director of the Institute and of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF. The study, which was titled, "Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates for 2005 NCAA Men's and Women's Division I Basketball Tournament Teams," analyzed the graduation rates of an institutions's overall basketball student-athletes, African-American basketball student-athletes, white basketball student-athletes and overall student-athletes.
The findings proved once again that the Patriot League is leading NCAA Division I in the quest for a balance between academic and athletic success. The League has led Division I in overall graduation rates in each of the last six years, and in the NCAA's new academic measurement, the Academic Progress Rate (APR), the League's eight schools averaged a score of 978.63, more than 30 points above the national average. An APR score of 925 is equivalent to an approximate graduation rate of 50 percent, and institutions falling below the 925 cut score will see penalties in the future.
"The success of our men's and women's basketball teams on the court and in the classroom demonstrates that athletic success can be achieved without comprising academic integrity," said Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich. "The League strives to provide opportunities for our scholar-athletes to excel academically and in Division I competition, and we are proud of their accomplishments."
The overwhelming result of the UCF/Lapchick study is that if a 50 percent graduation rate were needed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, only 22 of the 65 men's teams would be eligible for competition. Fifty-six of the 64 women's team would meet such a standard.
On the men's side, Bucknell's 100 percent graduation rate for overall basketball student-athletes was matched by just one other school in the field of 65: Utah State University. BU and Oakland University are the only two schools in the tourney to graduate 100 percent of their African-American student-athletes.
Head coach Pat Flannery's program's 100 percent graduation rate among white basketball student-athletes was matched by Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, Southern Illinois University, Stanford University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Connecticut, the University of Florida, the University of Oklahoma and Utah State.
Bucknell graduates 90 percent of its overall student-athletes, the highest percentage in the men's tournament. Duke University was the only other institution to reach 90 percent.
To further illustrate Bucknell's and the Patriot League's commitment to both academic and athletic success, consider that of the 22 men's programs which met a 50 percent or higher graduation rate for their overall basketball student-athletes, the Bison were one of just 10 to win a first round game. BU upset Kansas, 64-63 on Friday, March 18 in Oklahoma City for the school's and the Patriot League's first-ever NCAA Men's Tournament victory.
The numbers registered by Bucknell are even more impressive when compared against Division I averages. Only 43 percent of male basketball players graduate and an even lower 38 percent of African-American male basketball student-athletes graduate. For the women, 65 percent of basketball student-athletes and 60 percent of African-American basketball student-athletes graduate, higher numbers that are still trumped by the rates of Holy Cross.
The Crusaders, led by head coach Bill Gibbons, checked in at the top of the women's field despite better overall numbers among the 64 tournament programs. The 100 percent graduation rate of overall basketball student-athletes was one of three in the tournament, with the University of Montana and Vanderbilt University the others. Ten institutions reported 100 percent graduation rates for African-American basketball student-athletes: Holy Cross, Boston College, Duke, Liberty University, Temple University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University.
For white women's basketball student-athletes, the number of programs achieving 100 percent graduation rates was 12: Holy Cross, DePaul University, Louisiana State University, Rice University, Stanford, Temple, Montana, New Mexico, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
HC's 86 percent graduation rate for overall student-athletes was the third-highest percentage in the 64-team tournament. Duke was on top at 90 percent, and Notre Dame second at 87 percent.
On the basketball court, the Crusaders were defeated by second-seeded Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
For a full explanation of the guidelines that were used to calculate the men's and women's percentages, use the following link for the University of Central Florida's news release regarding Division I basketball team graduation rates: