A Matter Of No Degrees

By Norman Chad
Monday, October 15, 2007

To: The University of Maryland

From: Couch Slouch, Class of '81

Re: Graduation rates

I didn't want to write you all again -- I mean, just last month I politely requested that my alma mater eliminate Division I sports -- but several people e-mailed me some rather startling numbers about our hoops-playing, class-dodging student-athletes.

No Maryland men's basketball player who enrolled between 1997 and 2000 graduated within six years. This is commonly called a "zero percent graduation rate," and it ranked us last among the nation's 321 Division I programs -- in other words, we finished 321st out of 321 schools.

Geez, what happened to the academic legacy once created by Lefty Driesell?

Only one other men's basketball program in the ACC -- Clemson, 31 percent -- had a graduation rate below 40 percent. We can't do better than Clemson? Clemson? That's a Stuckey's with a student union.

The NCAA uses a formula called the "Graduation Success Rate" -- actually, in College Park, we call it the "Graduation Failure Rate" -- and this indicates that, uh, absolutely nobody on the basketball team gets out of Maryland alive with a degree.

Well, at least we're not cheating on exams!

(Column Intermission I: Battling a bad ankle on a muddy field 2,400 miles away from home, Player of Destiny Colt Brennan completed 44 of 75 passes for 545 yards to rally Hawaii from a 35-21 fourth-quarter deficit to a 42-35 overtime victory over San Jose State. Overcome by emotion watching it on ESPN, I wept at game's end.)

I repeat: We're talking a "zero percent graduation rate."

By the way, Maryland plays its games at Comcast Center; coincidentally, between 1997 and 2000, Comcast had a "zero percent response rate" to its customer's cable problems.

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