The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament officially starts tomorrow and everyone is filling out their March Madness brackets, forecasting who will win this year's tournament. Even President Obama got in to the bracket game, on Tuesday he picked the Indiana Hoosiers as the team to take it all in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament.
But one thing not a lot of people are talking about is the graduation success rates of the actual basketball players, especially the black athletes.
How did Obama's pick score with black basketball player graduation rates? Not so good.
On average only 45% of the black basketball players at the Indiana University Bloomington graduate, compared to 100% of the white players, according to a study released yesterday.
On Tuesday, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) released its annual study that compares graduation rates and academic progress rates for Division I teams that have been selected for the men's and women's brackets of the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournaments.
The report "Keeping Score When It Counts: Academic Progress/Graduation Success Rate Study of 2013 NCAA Division I Women's and Men's Basketball Tournament Teams," shows African-American players' graduation success rate is significantly lower than their white teammates, especially for males.
White male basketball student-athletes on tournament teams graduate at the rate of 90 percent versus only 65 percent of African-American male basketball student-athletes. White female basketball student-athletes on tournament teams graduate at a rate of 94 percent compared to 88 percent for African-American female basketball student-athletes.
The gap for men decreased by three percentage points from a 28 percent gap in 2012, while the gap for women decreased from eight percent in 2012.
Other distressing results found in the study:
The graduation success rates data shows nine women's tournament teams (16 percent) have a 30-percentage point or greater gap between the graduation rates of white and African-American basketball student-athletes. Five of the teams (eight percent) with a 30-percentage point or greater gap experience higher graduation rates for white student-athletes while four teams (six percent) have a similar disparity in favor of African-American student-athletes.
Fifteen women's teams (27 percent) have a 20-percentage point or greater gap between the graduation rates of white and African-American basketball student-athletes. Eleven of the teams (19 percent) with a 20 percentage point or greater gap experience higher graduation rates for white student-athletes, while four teams (six percent) experience higher graduation rates for African-American student-athletes.
Six out of the tournament's 68 teams have an academic progress rate score that falls below the NCAA's new 930 line, which could lead to future penalties. Those teams are Southern, James Madison, Saint Louis, New Mexico State, Oregon and Oklahoma State.
Dr. Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study noted the 65 percent graduation rate for African-American basketball players was significantly higher than the 38 percent for all male African-American college students.
This year, Duke, Notre Dame and Villanova had a team in both the men's and women's tournament each of which had a 100 percent graduation rate on both teams.