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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Kansas, North Carolina make grades too

Thursday, April 24, 2008


AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Kansas and North Carolina are regulars at the top of college basketball polls. They were recognized on another list Thursday.

The men's teams at the two national powers, which met in the Final Four earlier this month, were included among 712 squads singled out by the NCAA for their solid academic performance. Although the total number of teams publicly recognized dropped from 839 last year, 192 schools had at least one team finish among the top 10 percent of all schools in their sport.

The Ivy League accounted for more than one-fifth of all the teams honored, with 150 men's and women's teams recognized on the list. The Patriot League was second with 89 and the Big East third at 47.

Kansas, which won the national title a little more than three weeks ago, and North Carolina, the winner in 2005, both had impressive showings on the list. The grades are calculated over a four-year period although the numbers from 2007-08 will not be included until next year.

"We're very, very pleased," Jayhawks athletic director Lew Perkins said. "It just shows that you can have success in both academics and athletics. Our coaches and student-athletes work very hard toward that end. We take academics very seriously."

The NCAA gives each player on each team one point for staying academically eligible and another point for remaining at the school each semester, accumulating a total of four points per year. The scoring system is altered slightly for schools on a quarters-based calendar.

The NCAA then uses a mathematical formula to calculate each team's score. Those scores are expected to be released in early May. A perfect score is 1,000 and teams that fall below the cutline of 925 are subject to penalties, which include the potential loss of scholarships.

The men's basketball teams at Kansas and North Carolina won't have to worry about that -- the scores of the recognized teams landed well above the cutline.

Thursday's showing may help improve the image of a sport that routinely has been criticized for poor academic achievement.

Last month, Richard Lapchick, head of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, issued a study showing only one of the top four seeds in this year's tournament graduated more than 50 percent of its players. He also called the disparity in graduation rates between white and black players in men's basketball the greatest failure in higher education.

Graduation rates for men's basketball have consistently ranked near the bottom of all sports, thanks partly to the escalation in early departures for the NBA.

Yet the NCAA report showed some of this year's most successful tourney teams did their job academically, too.

Xavier, which lost to UCLA in the regional finals, made the list in men's basketball as did tourney darling Davidson. Perennial power Duke and Illinois, which lost to North Carolina in the 2005 title game, also made the list.

Eight of this year's 65 tourney teams were among the 33 men's basketball teams on the list. Men's cross country also had 33 teams listed, while golf produced 32 teams.

Tennis (46), volleyball (41) and golf (39) produced the most teams among women's sports. Neither Tennessee nor Connecticut, the biggest powers in women's basketball, made the list.

"Congratulations to these teams and their student-athletes for success in the classroom," NCAA President Myles Brand said in a statement. "They are setting a great example for their peers and future student-athletes, as well."

Again, it was the usually strong Ivy League that dominated the results.

Yale produced the most impressive classroom performance for the second straight year. Of the 29 men's and women's sports offered by the school and measured by the NCAA, the Bulldogs made the list in 28 sports. Dartmouth was honored 24 times, followed by Brown (21), the University of Pennsylvania (20), Princeton (19) and Harvard (18).

Other schools that fared well included Bucknell (17), Lehigh and Holy Cross (15), Davidson (14), Lafayette and Colgate (13). The Naval Academy, Duke and Georgetown each had 12 teams on the list, and Notre Dame had 11 although the Fighting Irish did not make it in football.

Six other Indiana colleges made the list, with Valparaiso finishing second to Notre Dame in the statewide race.

Valparaiso had five teams honored -- men's teams in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field and women's teams in tennis and volleyball.

Three other state schools -- Ball State, Butler and IPFW -- each had two teams on the list. The Cardinals were named in men's swimming and men's tennis, Butler in women's golf and women's tennis and IPFW in women's volleyball and men's cross country.

Purdue and Indiana each had one team recognized. The Boilermakers women's volleyball team made the cut, as did Indiana's men's golf team.

The most notable football teams honored were Rutgers, Stanford, Air Force, Navy and Villanova.

Perennial women's basketball powers Ohio State and Stanford also made the list.

Overall, 11.4 percent of the 6,272 teams were honored. The NCAA recognizes more than 10 percent in a sport if more teams produce a perfect score.

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