The NCAA and the 50 Percent Solution

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Education secretary Arne Duncan says that colleges participating in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I basketball tournament should ensure that at least half of all players are graduating from college on time. But is he serious?

According to an Associated Press piece at ESPN:

Teams that aren’t graduating players “should simply not have a chance to compete,” Duncan said during a teleconference. “If you can’t manage to graduate half of your players, how serious is a coach and the institution about their players’ academic success?”

This proclamation is unlikely result in any changes. It certainly didn’t when he talked about almost the exact same thing last year. Just suggesting change (or suggesting that the NCAA institute change) isn’t going to work.

Duncan, after all, is the Secretary of Education (that’s him playing, back in college). These basketball powerhouses receive billions in federal money. If you’re serious about this, Duncan, let’s attach some consequences to basketball players’ low graduation rates.

Duncan’s comments came after the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics issued a report indicating that 86 percent of the teams in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament graduated less than half of basketball players on time.

Graduating 50 percent of basketball players on time is the NCAA’s own goal. [Image via]

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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