The Ohio State Buckeyes, one of the final four teams in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament, has a 10 percent graduation rate for athletes, making it one of the lowest-ranked schools for graduating basketball players in the nation. A study confirmed that 10 percent of basketball players entering the freshman class from 1996-1999 at Ohio State graduated with a degree from the school.
Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, stated in his study, “Taking into account players who transfer, enter from junior colleges and are graduated late, 38 percent of Buckeyes basketball players earned degrees during that period.”
“Coaches know they will only [have a certain player] for one to two years,” Saleem Brown, a Cabrini College admissions counselor and assistant basketball coach, said. “It’s better for the coach’s contract.”
Of the supposed final four in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, Ohio and Kansas are the two with the worst graduations rates, whereas Florida and North Carolina have really good graduation rates, according to Lapchick.
“That’s certainly an issue,” Lapchick said.
In another study written by Lapchick and Maria Bustamante, “using the yardstick Graduation Success Rates – which accounts for players who transfer to other schools and receive degrees, players entering from junior colleges and those who receive degrees more than six years after enrollments, 9 percent of Florida A&M players, 19 percent of eastern Kentucky, 40 percent of Kansas and 50 percent of Oregon players were graduated.”
“Four out of five starters will go on to be first year draft picks in the NBA,” C.J. Honigman, a freshman undeclared major and Cabrini’s basketball team point guard, said.
Although graduation rates are improving, the ratio of graduating black players to white players still remains low.
“Forty Division I schools, including tournament-bound Eastern Kentucky, didn’t graduate any black players,” Lapchick said. “Twenty-one schools, including tournament-bound Eastern Kentucky, didn’t graduate any white players.”
“There is a high percentage of athletes that are black to leave after the first or second year to go and play for the NBA,” Brown said.
Another study conducted by Lapchick showed that based on the GSR formula, 68 percent of teams bound the NCAA men’s basketball tournament graduated 70 percent or more of their white players, but just 30 percent graduated 70 percent or more black players.
While 76 percent of white basketball players receive degrees, just 51 percent of black players do.
“I think that the goal had been 50 percent. That was considered a good graduation rate,” Lapchick said.
“I think there are so many school that have a 60, 70 percent rate, that I would recommend that we raise it, the 60-to-70 percent rate be considered the new standard of what’s good.”
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