NCAA Shouldn’t Get A Passing Grade

DETROIT - APRIL 03:  A detail of a player from...

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It’s march madness once again and the tournament is well underway. I don’t want to talk about my bracket as it is covered in red. Speaking of red, many big name programs have athlete graduation numbers that are in the red.

The following schools graduate less that 40% of their basketball players. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (29%), Baylor (36%), California (20%), Clemson (37%), Georgia Tech (38%), Kentucky (31%), Louisville (38%), Missouri (36%), New Mexico State (36%), Tennessee (30%) and Washington (29%), and worst of all is Maryland with (8%).

Maryland Madness 2009 196

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Before you start saying “well of course those numbers are low, everyone leaves for the NBA!” realize that those numbers do NOT include any players that leave for the NBA, transfers, or any of the players who played in the tournament this year. They include the most recent basketball players who have played for the school and had six years to graduate.

Now I realize that many of the guys who go to play D-I basketball dream of going pro, but aren’t they called “student-athletes”? The classroom is supposed to come first if you are truly a “student-athlete”. If you aren’t going to get this young men to actually participate in the classroom and keep their grades up and graduate, calling them “students”, is ridiculous! Just call them athletes and leave it at that.

This makes the NCAA look bad as well. If these big name programs aren’t graduating the players who do stay, then why aren’t they being punished? Why doesn’t the NCAA limit their ability to recruit players? U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, wants to impose a rule that will ban schools from participating in the tournament if they don’t graduate 40% of their players.

There is a roadblock to that however. The Department of Education can not impose a 40% solution on NCAA schools. So he’d have to pass a different type of reform first. The bottom line is this: there needs to be a higher standard of education in this country and until everyone, including the “student-athletes” are held up to that standard, people will continue to settle for mediocrity and possibly never reach their true potential. The NCAA should step in but the won’t because it would mean losing money.

I can not give the NCAA a passing grade here. They are beyond failure and should be held responsible. I will continue to watch college sports but I will wonder why these guys aren’t held to the same standard as a regular student but still get praised as if they are better than you or I.

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