Report notes disparity between grad rates of top seeds

Updated: March 12, 2007, 8:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Just 10 percent of Ohio State's basketball players received degrees at the school, according to a study that examined the freshman classes entering from 1996-99.

Taking into account players who transfer, enter from junior colleges and are graduated late, 38 percent of Buckeyes basketball players earned degrees during that period, Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, said Monday.

Ohio State enters this year's NCAA Tournament as the nation's top-ranked team.

The Report
Check out the complete report on Division I men's basketball tournament teams. Story

"The supposed Final Four, the top seeds are a real disparity there. Two of the schools, Florida and North Carolina, have really good graduation rates and Kansas and Ohio State don't have such good graduation rates," Lapchick said. "That's certainly an issue."

Under the formula of Federal Graduation Rates, no basketball player from NCAA-bound Florida A&M, Eastern Kentucky or Oregon received a degree from those four freshman classes, Lapchick's study said.

Using the yardstick Graduation Success Rates -- which accounts for players who transfer to other schools and receive degrees -- players entering from junior colleges and those who receive degrees more than six years after enrollments, 9 percent of Florida A&M players, 19 percent of Eastern Kentucky, 40 percent of Kansas and 50 percent of Oregon players were graduated, according to the study, written by Lapchick and Maria Bustamante.

Lapchick said the study found that while graduation rates are improving, there remains a huge gap between the figures for black and white basketball players.

Other NCAA Tournament-bound programs with low FGRs were: Tennessee (8 percent), UNLV (10 percent), Maryland (13 percent), Texas A&M (15 percent), Virginia Tech (17 percent), Gonzaga and Louisville (22 percent), Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Oral Roberts (23 percent), Memphis and North Texas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (25 percent).

Based on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate scores from last year, Lapchick said Florida A&M, New Mexico State, and Texas A&M could be subject to loss of basketball scholarships next year.

At the other end, the schools with the highest FGRs were Holy Cross (86 percent), Butler (82 percent), Creighton (78 percent), Davidson and Michigan State (75 percent). Penn and Air Force didn't report FGRs.

Lapchick's study said that based on the GSR formula, 68 percent of teams bound for the NCAA men's basketball tournament graduated 70 percent or more of their white players, but just 30 percent graduated 70 percent or more of black players. While 76 percent of white basketball players receive degrees, just 51 percent of black players do.

"I think that the goal had been 50 percent. That was considered a good graduation rate. But I think there are so many schools that have a 60, 70 percent rate, that I would recommend that we raise it, the 60-to-70 percent rate be considered the new standard of what's good."

Lapchick said 41 Division I schools, including seven headed to the tournament, didn't graduate any black players. Twenty-one schools, including tournament-bound Eastern Kentucky, didn't graduate any white players.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.