Winning Something

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Guess which NCAA team is the most academically successful? It’s probably the one where winning the NCAA tournament might matter least.

I mean not that it really matters—last year Education Secretary (and former college basketball player) Arne Duncan proposed that schools that graduated less than 40 percent of basketball players shouldn’t be eligible to participate National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and then we heard nothing more about that—but, according to an article in the Daily Beast, some of these year’s colleges do quite well academically.

As the piece explains:

With all the concentration on the court, we thought we’d examine how the 68 teams in the tournament fare academically. To find out which schools are faltering, The Daily Beast considered all 68 college teams in this year’s March Madness according to their graduation success rate (GSR), Academic Progress Rate (APR) for both the most recent year available as well as the multi-year, four-year average score, and the head coach’s career APR. All four metrics, calculated and provided by the NCAA, were weighted equally.

The highest achieving schools were, in order:

1. Princeton 2. Brigham Young University 3. Belmont University 4. Notre Dame 5. Villanova 6. the University of Illinois 7. Wofford College 8. Xavier University 9. Bucknell and 10. Vanderbilt.

Such measures of academic success, while interesting, have virtually nothing to do with winning basketball games.

But congratulations Princeton. Unsurprisingly the school that doesn’t even offer athletic scholarships, and is the most selective in the tournament, has the best graduation rates in the group. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer