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Syracuse LogoIf 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?

Look up a school’s Academic Progress Rate and Graduation Rate.

Inside Higher Ed's Academic Bracket

Inside Higher Ed’s Academic Bracket

7 Responses to The Bracket That Matters

  1. One would have to be an idiot to think that the majority of major college athletes will graduate. Basketball is probably the worst. This is not news.

  2. March 19, 2013 at 12:23 am Eduardo Ricardo responds:

    Ax fo a tutah.

  3. March 19, 2013 at 6:02 am Ginny Maier responds:

    OAJ, a 70% 6-year graduation rate means that the majority of major college athletes DO graduate. That there is a tremendous discrepancy between black and white graduation rates is very disturbing, and that Syracuse is doing so much worse than the national average in graduating black basketball players should be alarming. For the coach to whine about the unfairness of the academic system could be a sign that he thinks his players’ academic success is “not his job”. Considering how much money he and the school make thanks to these athletes, watching more than 1/2 of black players — that he recruited — drop out before they get degrees is borderline abusive. What else is he saying but “you only matter to this institution for your athletic prowess.”

  4. Interesting article to be concerned about the roughly 15 players on a basketball team and the 3 or 4 that may not graduate.

    I’d be more concerned about the $56,000 a year Syracuse charges undergraduates (their website). What percent of those kids graduate and how much do they owe whether they graduate or not.

  5. Interesting comments. It would seem some people believe colleges have a responsibility to guide a persons life. Let’s be clear….college is a BUSINESS. They need students to pay tuition to provide the salaries and perks for the staff. In return, they provide a classroom and an instructor. It is up to the STUDENT to either study or party. I personally believe college is a SCAM. ( I put two sons through college. Both received BS degrees. One took 5 years the other took 6 years. ) I am still paying 10 years later after graduations. The current tuitions are a disgrace. It was noted that Syracuse is 56K. The basketball players are being given the opportunity to get a degree from Syracuse for FREE. The fact that they don’t or can’t study is on the STUDENT. To blame anyone else is foolish.

  6. March 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm Orielly responds:

    A division 1 Athlete like those on SU are given every bit of help to make it through their academic requirements. Tutor’s for every subject they want or need. They offer help with every home work assignment. They have another athlete mentor/supervisor that interfaces with each Prof. and then are guided through what courses to take, and what teachers are “sports/athletes” friendly. With that back up, most college students would have to really try hard not to graduate.

    That said check out college swimming, cross country running, or skiing, you will find the average academics in those sports in most schools through the roof. Funny how they get so little coverage and how many schools drop those sports.

    Blame the schools and the NCAA who both care more about the money than supporting sports with exceptional scholar athletes. — no matter what their advertisements say.

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