Tuesday, April 29, 2003

TMQ - Backdraft: TMQ is back for the draft, and we all yell: "Ye gods!" Most fun section? Well, he does a great analysis on how teams trade up or down seemingly just for the sake of it. Trading pick 128 for 120, for instance. However, the most interesting portion had nothing to do with NFL drafting, but rather NCAA graduating...or the lack thereof:

On the Men's Side, the Bad Habits Have Already Started: According to the new Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, established by Richard Lapchick, who has doggedly counted up sports-and-race statistics over the years, NCAA men's basketball champion Syracuse University has not graduated an African-American scholarship basketball athlete in a decade. Kansas, the Orangemen's opponent in the men's championship, graduates two-thirds of its African-American basketball scholarship athletes. This proves a big school can have a top program and still educate players, almost all of whom will need their degrees because they'll never take the floor in the NBA.
Syracuse's tournament win was played as a feel-good story -- plucky school gets first title, lovable grandfatherly coach finally on top. Syracuse's tournament win actually should have been played as a huge embarrassment for college basketball -- school that openly makes no attempt to educate bests school that plays by the rules and treats athletes as students. The grandfatherly Jim Boeheim? If he were really grandfatherly, he'd be taking care of his charges by getting them educations, rather than feeding them phony dream of NBA play then abandoning them the instant they cease being useful.
This year's men's champion actively thumbed its nose at education, not even engaging in a token effort to graduate African-American athletes. Zero action was taken by the NCAA against either school. What message will other NCAA men's coaches take away? Thumb your nose at education.

So at what price success? And, does it really matter if any of them graduate, b/c the vast majority of them wouldn't be in college if it weren't for basketball in the first place?

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