Wednesday, March 16, 2005


The University of Central Florida (the alma mater of Freakin Rican, I believe) has released the graduation rates for the teams in the NCAA basketball tournament (UCF is one of the schools dancing this year and has a so-so graduation rate of 43%). A couple of big schools (LSU and Minnesota) have not graduated one basketball player since 1997-98. Not one!! Notwithstanding the occassional player who leaves school early to enter the draft, I just don't see how this can be considered acceptable by any coach, president, or university. Some of the schools really surprised me. Duke and Texas Tech both have coaches (Coach K and Knight respectively) who are known to say how important it is to have their "kids" become men under their tutelage. That they want their kids to prosper after school and realize how important an education is in realizing this. And yet they have graduation rates of only 58% and 33% respectively. Wisconsin's 73% graduation rate is high on this list. But to me, 73% still isn't cutting it. Now I understand that the UW's basketball team graduation rate is actually higher than the overall school's graduation rate (which hovers around 65%), but if I were the coach of a college team, my overriding concern would be to make sure that all the kids who I had chosen to represent the school through their athletic endeavor graduated. Coaches have the ability to get their players tutors, to make them go to "study hall", etc. I realize wins and losses are important, but what the hell is a 21 year old kid who has no shot of playing professionally going to do when his 4 years of eligibility are up?

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