Should NCAA Teams Be Disqualified Based on Graduation Rates?

The U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has high expectations for college basketball players. Duncan recently stated his opinion that if at least 40 percent of a college’s players do not graduate, that team should be banned from any NCAA tournament. Duncan’s statement was based off the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport’s annual report of graduation rates for NCAA basketball teams. This report showed several of the top teams in the nation as being at the bottom of the list.
However, does graduation rate really matter when you are talking about college basketball players? The University of Maryland coach Gary Williams doesn’t think so:
“Obviously, those years we had players leave early and they’re millionaires now, and they’re coming back to get their degrees, just like other guys have come back and gotten their degrees,” he said.
According to this view, maybe the standard for allowing teams to compete should be based off current team GPA, not graduation rate. But just so you know who’s actually graduating and who’s not doing so well, here are the best and the worst schools:
The Best (100 percent graduation rates):

  • Brigham Young University
  • Marquette University
  • Notre Dame, Utah State University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Wofford College (average tournament seed: 8.8)

The Middle (between 20 and 36 percent graduation rates):

  • University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff
  • University of Washington
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Kentucky
  • Baylor
  • New Mexico State University (average tournament seed: 6.8)

The Worst (8 percent graduation rate):

  • Maryland (No. 4 seed)