Student Achievement

Academic Predictions for the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

By Bryan Toporek — March 20, 2013 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Like it or not, the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is about to take over the country for the next few weeks.

Before March Madness truly tipped off, the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport published its annual report on Monday examining graduation-rate trends for the 68 teams participating in this year’s NCAA tournament.

There’s good news to report: The overall graduation success rate (GSR) for male basketball student-athletes rose three percentage points, from 67 percent in 2012 to 70 percent this year. The GSR for African-American basketball players rose “substantially,” according to the report, jumping from 59 percent in 2012 to 65 percent in 2013.

The GSR represents the graduation rates of Division I student-athletes and includes student-athletes who transfer into institutions. Student-athletes who leave before graduating (to pursue professional sports interests, for example) can be excluded from the GSR as long as they would have been academically eligible to participate in sports had they stayed.

The graduation-rate gap between white and African-American male basketball players also decreased by three percentage points this year, dropping from 28 percent in 2012 to 25 percent in 2013.

The disparity remains far too large on certain teams, however, to please Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study and the director of TIDES.

“It is simply not acceptable that in 2013, 40 percent of the men’s teams had a GSR disparity of greater than 30 percent between white student-athletes and African-American student-athletes, and 53 percent had a GSR disparity of greater than 20 percent,” said Lapchick in a statement.

A Simply Academic Bracket Projection

The report also features the Academic Progress Rate (APR) for all 68 schools in the tournament, for those curious about who would win an academics-based March Madness. The APR is a four-year metric that takes into account each student-athlete’s academic standing and retention on the team.

This year’s tournament features six teams with a perfect APR of 1000, according to the TIDES report: Belmont University, Butler University, the University of Kansas, the University of Memphis, the University of Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame.

Based on the APR scores listed in the TIDES report, I went ahead and created an academic-based bracket, where the team with the higher APR in each matchup advances. In the case of a tie, such as the two Final Four matchups, the higher-seeded team advanced.

If academics were the determining factor in this year’s NCAA tournament, we’d end up having a rematch of the 2008 championship game between Memphis and Kansas. To the chagrin of Memphis fans, the higher-seeded Jayhawks would once again prevail as champions.

Beyond just being an easy way to create an academics-based bracket, the APR has postseason implications for teams that fall below a certain benchmark. The NCAA Division I board of directors approved a rule change in August 2011 that requires teams to exceed an APR of 930—which represents a roughly 50 percent graduation rate—averaged over four years to be eligible for postseason play.

Starting this past school year and continuing in 2013-14, teams need to either achieve a 900 APR average over the past four years (correlating to roughly a 40 percent graduation rate) or a 930 APR average over the past two years to retain postseason eligibility. In 2014-15, teams must meet the 930 APR average over four years or average a 940 APR over the past two years to be eligible for the postseason. By the 2015-16 school year, all teams must reach the 930 APR benchmark or they’ll be ineligible for postseason play.

Six teams in this year’s tournament fall below the new APR cutline of 930: Southern University (863), St. Louis University (923), James Madison University (924), New Mexico State University (926), the University of Oregon (926), and Oklahoma State University (928). Keep in mind, these are only one-year APRs, not the two- or four-year averages needed to retain postseason eligibility.

The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team was banned from the 2013 postseason due to the school falling short of the NCAA’s new academic standards.

This is also probably a good time to mention that despite the prevalence of March Madness bracket pools, the NCAA itself frowns upon gambling on the tournament. “Fans should enjoy following the tournament and filling out a bracket just for the fun of it, not on the amount of money they could possibly win,” the organization says.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Achievement Schools Straddle the Pandemic and Familiar Headwinds in Quest to Boost Quality
The latest Quality Counts summative grades show stubbornly average performance by the nation's schools overall, despite pockets of promise.
1 min read
Illustration of C letter grade
Getty
Student Achievement Spotlight Spotlight on Learning Gaps
In this Spotlight, analyze where learners – and educators – are in their learning process; see what other leaders are planning, and more.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Whitepaper
The Tutoring Solution: Exclusive Survey Findings
A white paper commissioned by Kelly Education and published by the EdWeek Research Center finds that parents and educators alike are on b...
Content provided by Kelly Education
Student Achievement Quiz Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Student Achievement?
Quiz Yourself: How is your district doing with student achievement?