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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona graduation rate fourth worst among all NCAA Tournament teams

    Arizona was near the bottom of the list of schools that made it into the 2009 NCAA men’s basketball Tournament.

    A report released Monday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida revealed that the UA is also near the bottom of graduation rates based on whether freshmen who entered school between the 1998-99 and 2001-02 school years earned diplomas within six years.

    The five lowest rates were Cal State-Northridge (8 percent), Maryland (10 percent), Portland State (17 percent), Arizona (20 percent) and Clemson (29 percent).

    Overall rates were based on 63 teams. Neither Cornell nor North Dakota State reported graduation rates.

    The study also found that fewer tournament teams have failing Academic Progress Rates (APR) than last year. Of the 65 tournament teams, 21 of them (32 percent) have APR scores less than 925, the cutoff at which the NCAA can penalize schools by taking away up to 10 percent of the school’s scholarships.

    Last year, 35 teams (54 percent) had APR scores below 925.

    Starting next year, teams that receive three consecutive years of APR scores 900 or lower face the potential of restrictions on postseason competition, as well as scholarship and practice restrictions.

    The study listed six teams under the 900 APR mark: Cal State-Northridge, Cleveland State, Morehead State, Portland State, Purdue and USC.

    These teams, along with Tennessee (911 APR), will be subject to contemporaneous penalties by the the NCAA, the report stated.

    The APR for the Arizona men’s basketball team is currently 933, but will drop once transfers like Laval Lucas-Perry’s in December 2007 are figured into the equation. Players who leave early for the NBA Draft also affect a team’s APR.

    Since the turn of the century, 12 former Wildcats have been chosen in the NBA Draft. One transferred after his freshman year and seven others left for the pros before graduating.

    According to the study, Arizona’s graduation rate for the classes in the study show a strong difference between African-American and white men’s basketball players.

    The overall student-athlete graduation rate is 64 percent for the Wildcats. The overall men’s basketball student-athlete graduation rate is 20 percent. One hundred percent of white men’s basketball players graduated in the period under review, while no African-Americans graduated at the UA in the six-year span.

    “”The continuing significant disparity between the academic success between African-American and white men’s basketball student-athletes is deeply troubling,”” Dr. Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study and director of The Institute and Chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF said in the study.

    “”One of higher education’s greatest failures is the persistent gap between African-American and white basketball student-athletes in particular and students in general. The good news is that the gaps are narrowing slightly and that the actual graduation rates of African-American basketball student-athletes are increasing.””

    Twenty-five tournament teams had a gap of 20 percentage points or more between the two ethnic groups.

    Rates for African-American student-athletes were based on 62 teams. Cornell and North Dakota State did not report graduation rates. Utah – which Arizona plays in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Miami on Friday – had no African-American basketball student-athletes in the graduating class in the NCAA data from which the study’s data was gathered.

    Rates for white student-athletes wereÿbasedÿonÿ57ÿteams.ÿIn addition to the schools that did not report graduation rates, Alabama State, Temple, Memphis, Louisville, Villanova and LSU had no white basketball student-athletes in the graduating class in the period under review.

    Stay with all week long for NCAA Tournament coverage from Miami, Fla., with Daily Wildcat basketball reporters Lance Madden and Bryan Roy. Follow us on Twitter here

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