“The math on this is not complicated,” Secretary Duncan told USA Today. “If you can’t graduate one in two of your student-athletes, I just question the institutional commitment to academics. And I think if the NCAA were to draw a line in the sand, you’d see this behavior change very rapidly.”
Secretary Duncan also penned an op-ed in today’s Washington Post shedding light on the fact that 10 of the 68 men’s teams in the NCAA tournament are not on track to graduate even half of their players:
“Colleges and universities need to stop trotting out tired excuses for basketball teams with poor academic records and indefensible disparities in the graduation rates of white and black players. And it is time that the NCAA revenue distribution plan stopped handsomely rewarding success on the court with multimillion-dollar payouts to schools that fail to meet minimum academic standards.
“Like millions of fans, I’ll be watching the tournament, rooting for my favorites. As a kid on the South Side of Chicago who loved basketball, I got to see the best and the worst of college sports. I spent time on the court with inner-city players who had been used and dumped by their universities. When the ball stopped bouncing, they struggled to find work and had difficult lives. Some died early. The dividing line for success was between those who went to college and got their degrees, and those who did not. If a team fails to graduate even half of its players, how serious are the institution and coach about preparing their student-athletes for life?”
Secretary Duncan joined Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, and Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, University of Central Florida on a press call to discuss NCAA graduation rates. Read the transcript, or listen to the call .