Filling out March Madness brackets is an annual rite of spring for many of the nation’s sports fans. For three weeks, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament captivates the nation with upsets, buzzer beaters, and athletic excellence.
However, many of the top teams on the hardwood don’t have the same commitment to academic excellence as they do to hoops dominance. For example, defending national champion Connecticut has one of the worst graduation rates among the nation’s Division I basketball programs at 25%. The program hasn’t topped 33% in the past six years. UConn has the lowest graduation rate in this year’s tournament despite the fact that head coach Jim Calhoun’s contract states that academics are an “important aspect of his responsibilities.”
The Washington Post‘s Jenna Johnson put together a bracket to determine who would come out on top if basketball graduation rates were used to determine winners throughout the men’s basketball tournament. Her bracket was based on graduation data compiled by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. This year’s Sweet Sixteen of Academic Excellence was comprised of the following schools: Western Kentucky, Wichita State, UNLV, Notre Dame, Long Island, Davidson, BYU, Missouri, UNC Ashville, Harvard, Florida State, Loyola Maryland, Creighton, Ohio, Belmont, and Kansas. The Final Four was Notre Dame, Davidson, Harvard, and Creighton. And the basketball academic national champion is Notre Dame.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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