If you filled out your bracket based on which teams graduate the most players, Syracuse University wouldn’t make it out of the first round.
The Syracuse men’s basketball team remains a low-performer among Division I schools when it comes to academics. The team barely escaped future NCAA sanctions by having an Academic Progress Score of 936, above its score of 928 last year. The NCAA penalty cutoff is 930 – roughly equivalent to a 50 percent graduation rate. Syracuse is in the 20th percentile among basketball teams and in the 1st percentile among all athletic teams. The score is calculated using four and six-year graduation rates among athletes.
Syracuse’s six-year graduation rate for men’s basketball players was 58 percent in 2012, up from 54 percent the year before. But it only graduated 43 percent of black student basketball players, down from 44 percent. The men’s basketball team has a graduation rate far below that of all Syracuse student athletes.
Some coaches, including Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, have criticized the academic point system, saying the teams are so small, one player who messes up could drag down the score. Others have said future players shouldn’t be denied scholarships or postseason play because of the performance of previous players.
An NCAA press release lauded the academic progress of basketball players on tournament teams. The six-year graduation rate for black students climbed from 59 to 65 percent. The six-year graduation rate for white students went from 88 to 90 percent. The overall six-year graduation rate increased from 67 to 70 percent.
Progress – even if it comes slowly – is great. But it’s hard to get excited about any team with these abysmal academic results. College is about school, right?