June 30, 1995 in Sports

Graduation Rates Fall For Men’s Basketball

Associated Press

For the first time since Prop 48 established stricter academic standards for freshman athletes, graduation rates declined in men’s basketball.

The graduation rate for Division I basketball players who entered college in 1988 was 42 percent, a drop from 46 percent for the previous class, an NCAA study shows.

The steepest decline was among white players, whose graduation rate fell from 57 percent for the 1987 class to 50 percent for the 1988 group. The rate for black players fell from 39 percent in 1987 to 37 percent in 1988.

“It’s fascinating, but it’s fascinating in a negative kind of way,” said Dr. James Frank, commissioner of the mostly black Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Under Prop 48, which went into effect in 1986, freshmen athletes had to meet minimum academic standards to play in their first year. The first two classes affected by Prop 48 showed slightly improved graduation rates for almost all groups of athletes.

The upward trend continued in the latest study for female athletes and Division I-A football players. But the sharp decline among male basketball players may be cause for concern, especially because the dip occurred when even stricter academic requirements were supposed to have the opposite effect.

The NCAA research is based on athletes who graduate within six years of enrolling.

“To attempt to make any definite conclusions at this point would be irresponsible,” said Frank, who was NCAA president in 1983 when debate began on Prop 48’s standardized test scores, which some believed were racially biased. Still, some were alarmed by the falling graduation rate in men’s basketball.

“There’s been a broad-based assumption in college sports that we’ve tackled this issue and won,” said Richard Lapchick, director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

Graduation rates for Division I-A football players rose from 55 percent for the freshman class of 1987 to 56 percent for the class of 1988. The figures for black players fell from 44 to 42 percent, but the rate for white players jumped from 63 to 64 percent.

The biggest strides were made by black female athletes. Their 58 percent graduation rate was five percentage points better than the year before and 17 better than the overall rate for black female students.

The graduation rate for white female athletes showed a smaller increase, from 69 percent to 71 percent.

xxxx Prop 48 graduation rates Graduation rates in percentages for Division I student-athletes entering college under NCAA Proposition 48: 1986 1987 1988 All Student-Athletes 57 57 58 All Male Student-Athletes 52 53 53 All Female Student-Athletes 68 67 69 All Black Male St-Athletes 41 43 42 All White Male St-Athletes 57 58 58 All Black Female St-Athletes 54 53 58 All White Female St-Athletes 70 69 71 All Male Basketball Players 44 46 42 All Female Basketball Players 62 62 65 All White Male Basketball 52 57 50 All Black Male Basketball 38 39 37 All White Female Basketball 62 62 65 All Black Female Basketball 51 52 54 All Division I-A Football 53 55 56 All White Div. I-A Football 60 63 64 All Black Div. I-A Football 43 44 42

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