Monday, March 19, 2007

Graduating up the chart

Mike Waters, the Syracuse hoops beat writer for the Syracuse Post-Standard, ripped NY Post bigmouth Phil Mushnick for an offhand comment about Jim Boeheim and "his bosses/enablers at Syracuse [who] long ago ceased to expect him to recruit players who, beyond playing nationally televised basketball, had much interest in attending any college." Waters is right.

You can see the data here regarding scholarship athletes and graduation success. Syracuse is doing a fairly good job in one regard, and a good job in another: it graduated 50% of its black basketball players who entered its program in the last four classes, and of the nine black basketball players who stayed with the program, seven graduated within the NCAA's six-year guideline. That's a "Graduation Success Rate" of 78%. Although it is lower than the average GSR for all SU athletes of 87%, it is a high rate for black male basketball players who have historically lagged very far behind all other athletes in graduation rates. Indeed, SU's 78% rate for black men's hoops players exceeds the total graduation rate at Kansas and Kentucky. At KU, one of three black players charted in the data graduated either with his class or within the six-year window; at UK, the rate was 1-for 7. Kentucky's head coach is black, which makes that 14% rate even more atrocious.

All four SU seniors (Gorman, Roberts, Watkins and Nichols) are on pace to graduate this May. Recent grads include Warrick, Pace, Duany and Forth (all members of the '03 champs; Forth was an Academic All-American). Of those eight players mentioned, six are black. Indeed, if you remove Duany, that means five black men's basketball players graduating from SU in the past three years (provided Roberts, Watkins and/or Nichols don't screw up -- all unlikely). Few NCAA schools can match that record. That's the good part for SU, and the sad part for everyone else.

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