Report notes disparity between grad rates of top seeds

Just 10 percent of Ohio State's basketball players received
degrees at the school, according to a study that examined the
freshman classes entering from 1996-99.

Taking into account players who transfer, enter from junior
colleges and are graduated late, 38 percent of Buckeyes basketball
players earned degrees during that period, Richard Lapchick,
director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for
Diversity and Ethics in Sports, said Monday.

Ohio State enters this year's NCAA Tournament as the nation's
top-ranked team.

"The supposed Final Four, the top seeds are a real disparity
there. Two of the schools, Florida and North Carolina, have really
good graduation rates and Kansas and Ohio State don't have such
good graduation rates," Lapchick said. "That's certainly an

Under the formula of Federal Graduation Rates, no basketball
player from NCAA-bound Florida A&M, Eastern Kentucky or Oregon
received a degree from those four freshman classes, Lapchick's
study said.

Using the yardstick Graduation Success Rates -- which accounts
for players who transfer to other schools and receive degrees --
players entering from junior colleges and those who receive degrees
more than six years after enrollments, 9 percent of Florida A&M
players, 19 percent of Eastern Kentucky, 40 percent of Kansas and 50 percent of Oregon
players were graduated, according to the study, written by Lapchick
and Maria Bustamante.

Lapchick said the study found that while graduation rates are
improving, there remains a huge gap between the figures for black
and white basketball players.

Other NCAA Tournament-bound programs with low FGRs were:
Tennessee (8 percent), UNLV (10 percent), Maryland (13 percent),
Texas A&M (15 percent), Virginia Tech (17 percent), Gonzaga and
Louisville (22 percent), Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Oral Roberts
(23 percent), Memphis and North Texas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
(25 percent).

Based on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate scores from last
year, Lapchick said Florida A&M, New Mexico State, and Texas A&M
could be subject to loss of basketball scholarships next year.

At the other end, the schools with the highest FGRs were Holy
Cross (86 percent), Butler (82 percent), Creighton (78 percent),
Davidson and Michigan State (75 percent). Penn and Air Force didn't
report FGRs.

Lapchick's study said that based on the GSR formula, 68 percent
of teams bound for the NCAA men's basketball tournament graduated
70 percent or more of their white players, but just 30 percent
graduated 70 percent or more of black players. While 76 percent of
white basketball players receive degrees, just 51 percent of black
players do.

"I think that the goal had been 50 percent. That was considered
a good graduation rate. But I think there are so many schools that
have a 60, 70 percent rate, that I would recommend that we raise
it, the 60-to-70 percent rate be considered the new standard of
what's good."

Lapchick said 41 Division I schools, including seven headed to
the tournament, didn't graduate any black players. Twenty-one
schools, including tournament-bound Eastern Kentucky, didn't
graduate any white players.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.