U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote a scathing op-ed piece in Wednesday’s Washington Post that simply said this: if colleges fail to graduate at least half of their players, then they should not be allowed to compete in post season tournaments, including “March Madness”.
In an opinion column, Duncan penned entitled, “What’s missing from March Madness? Better academics” he goes in on the current lack of education college athletes are receiving, either because they are given a pass or because they are looked at as bringing in massive amounts of money for their schools. Who is going to tell the cash cow they need to make the grade?
“Colleges and universities need to stop trotting out tired excuses for basketball teams with poor academic records and indefensible disparities in the graduation rates of white and black players. And it is time that the NCAA revenue distribution plan stopped handsomely rewarding success on the court with multimillion-dollar payouts to schools that fail to meet minimum academic standards.
“…I spent time on the court with inner-city players who had been used and dumped by their universities. When the ball stopped bouncing, they struggled to find work and had difficult lives. Some died early. The dividing line for success was between those who went to college and got their degrees, and those who did not. If a team fails to graduate even half of its players, how serious are the institution and coach about preparing their student-athletes for life?”
What does Duncan want to impose to change this? Have the NCAA institute a rule that if half of the college players fail to graduate, then they cannot compete in post-season play.
This would go for all college sports—track and field, swimming, tennis, football, baseball, basketball, and more. But what’s troubling about this is that often than not, it’s the basketball program that suffers the most in terms of having the least graduates. The only program that comes close, according to Professor Lapchick, Director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, University of Central Florida, is football.
Duncan clearly seems to be going after the NCAA basketball program. Maybe it’s because he knows his team won’t be doing well on his brackets. Whatever the case, as our Educational Secretary, it seems his concern is misplaced.
With all that is going on in our nation’s public school system, he is spending time discussing college basketball? Am I missing something?
I do agree with Duncan that there can be a lot said about the way the NCAA and the schools themselves treat their players, but this isn’t something I feel our government should mandate.