ND would make academic Final Four

by Bloomberg News Service

If NCAA tournament games were decided in the classroom instead of on the basketball court, the Stanford Cardinal would be cutting down the nets as national champions.p. According to the NCAA’s most recent graduation statistics, every scholarship player who entered Stanford’s men’s basketball program from 1991-94 graduated within six years.

In a comparison of graduation rates matching teams in this year’s NCAA tournament, Stanford would easily advance to the Final Four. That wasn’t the case on the court, as top-seeded Kansas routed the Cardinal, 86-63, in the second round of the Midwest Regional. “Stanford University is committed to a strong tradition of academic and athletic excellence,” Stanford Athletic Director Ted Leland said. “It is expected that our student-athletes not only excel in their athletic endeavors, but in the classroom as well.”

Based on NCAA graduation rates, the other schools reaching the Final Four would be St. John’s from the East Regional, Notre Dame from the South and Xavier from the West.

Besides Stanford, no other school in this year’s tournament field graduated more than 80% of its scholarship players during the most recent study period, according to the NCAA’s statistics. Pennsylvania wasn’t included because Ivy League schools don’t offer athletic scholarships.

Stanford’s 100% graduation would top St. John’s 80% rate in one national semifinal, while Notre Dame’s 77% rate would beat Xavier’s 70% in the other semifinal.

Stanford, which graduated all 11 of its men’s scholarship players who entered the school from 1991-94, would then beat Notre Dame in the final.

The overall graduation rate for Division I men’s basketball players who entered school from 1991-94 was 40%. The graduation rate for male students during that span was 55%.

Kansas, which beat Stanford on the court, wouldn’t have gotten past the first round of this year’s tournament bracket based on graduation rates. Neither would any of the other No. 1 seeds, including Duke, which is known for its strong academics. Kansas had a 64% graduation rate, Maryland 19% and Cincinnati 8%.

Three schools in this year’s tournament field failed to graduate a single men’s basketball player who entered school from 1991-94 during the six-year period, according to the NCAA.

Of the threeOklahoma, Hawaii and McNeese Stateonly the Sooners are still in the tournament.

March 26, 2002

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