Study Shows Low Graduation Rates

Associated Press
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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 to 1999.

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 yesterday.

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

"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."

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).

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 and 50 percent of Oregon players were graduated, according to the study, written by Lapchick and Maria Bustamante.

Vote of Confidence

Tubby Smith has good reason to believe Kentucky wants him to return next season.

"Tubby's our basketball coach," Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart told the Associated Press. "He's done a great job of representing the platform of Kentucky basketball. We'll always look to make adjustments to the things we've got to do to get better. Tubby and I will do that collectively."

Amid weeks of speculation that Smith was on his way out, Barnhart stopped short of saying the coach would remain in charge of the Wildcats.

Marshall Coach Dismissed

Ron Jirsa is out as Marshall's basketball coach after a 13-19 season.

His firing came four days after Marshall ended its season with a 92-71 loss to Memphis in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament.

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