Eleven of the men’s college basketball teams that have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen fail to meet the NCAA’s minimum academic standards. Eight of those teams are sponsored by Nike, who will profit as players sport their logo on national television.
Through our Graduation Madness campaign, ThinkProgress readers have sent thousands of emails to Nike demanding they take action to help ensure more college basketball players graduate. Thanks to your efforts, Nike has responded. Here’s an excerpt:
Thank you for correspondence regarding teams participating in NCAA’s basketball tournament failing to meet minimum academic standards…
[W]e are also aware of the diligent efforts made by all the NCAA-governed institutions to raise the graduation rate among student-athletes at their schools. We believe that school administrators and team coaches have made this issue a priority within their ranks, and are actively implementing programs that address this concern. Nike fully supports those efforts and the long-term goals of the NCAA. (Full response here)
Translation: everything is going fine and we don’t plan on doing anything. It’s easy to understand why Nike is satisfied with the status quo. This morning, the company announced it raked in $325.8 million in profit last quarter, up 19% from a year ago. Meanwhile, basketball players who don’t graduate from college can expect to earn just $27,915 a year.