Graduation Rates Increasing Among 2011 March Madness Schools

Graduation rates among male basketball players from the 2011 March Madness tournament schools are on the rise, according to a report released today from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, but gaps still persist among White and Black players.

The report, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Success and Academic Progress Rates for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams,” examined the Academic Progress Rates (APR) and Graduation Success Rates (GSR) of men’s basketball teams from 67 NCAA Division I schools. Average APR and GSR data were then calculated from freshman classes from 2000 to 2004.

The Institute found a notable increase in graduation rates:  in 76 percent of schools, at least 50 percent of their men’s basketball team graduated, up from 69 percent in 2010. Overall, graduation rates increased by two percentage points, to 66 percent.

Among White athletes, the graduation rate increased seven percentage points to 91 percent, and graduation rates among Black athletes increased three percentage points, to 59 percent.

But while overall graduation rates increased, the gap between the graduation rates of White and Black athletes widened. Fifty-four percent of the teams studied had a gap of at least 30 percentage points or more between the graduation rates of White and Black athletes.

In a written statement, Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute and co-author of the report, found some encouraging news in the data.

Black basketball players, he notes, have higher graduation rates than Black non-athletes: As a whole, only 38 percent of Black male students graduate, which is 21 percentage points lower than the graduation rate of Black male basketball student-athletes.

“Presently, too many of our predominantly White campuses are not fully welcoming places for students of color, whether or not they are athletes,” said Lapchick. “There are lessons that our campuses could learn from athletics.”