The NCAA Takes On Graduation Madness

The NCAA blog covered our Graduation Madness campaign this morning. While Josh Centor, who blogs for the NCAA, is generally supportive of the campaign he takes issue with our data. Specifically, he feels our claim that 30 schools who qualified for March Madness don’t meet the NCAA’s minimum academic standards is inaccurate:

According to ThinkProgress.org: “of the 65 teams that qualified for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, 30 fail to meet minimum academic standards as defined by the NCAA.” That’s not exactly accurate. Two teams in the field had scores lower than the 925 cutoff, and both will be penalized with the loss of scholarships next season.

In order to adequately compensate for the lack of data and small sample size, the NCAA instituted a squad-size adjustment, or confidence boundary, that prevented a number of teams from facing penalties this year…they will have another year or two to change their behavior

Actually, 30 schools in the field scored lower than the 925 cut-off, which is roughly equivalent to a 50% graduation rate. And the schools do not have a “year or two” to change their behavior. According to the NCAA’s own literature, these schools should not take comfort in the “squad size adjustment” and must act immediately to improve their academics:

Treating the squad-size adjustment as a safety net and not using a score below 925 as a signal for immediate academic reform may result in more serious penalties…[these teams] should be the subject of active review by the institution in determining steps to improve academic performance…Division I Committee on Academic Performance requires that institutions with teams below 925 develop and implement an academic improvement plan for these teams.

Corporate sponsors, who profit from these students by adorning them with their logos, shouldn’t wait to act either. Join Graduation Madness now and tell Nike, Adidas and Reebok to get off the academic sidelines.