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


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.