March Academic Madness

On the eve of March Madness, Education Secretary Arne Duncan used his bully pulpit Wednesday to lobby the NCAA to ban from post-season play any college that fails to graduate at least 40 percent of its players.

If such a policy were in place right now, a dozen teams including top-seeded Kentucky, which graduates only 31 percent of its players, would be out of contention. Other men's basketball teams that would be barred include Maryland (8 percent graduation rate), California (20 percent), Arkansas–Pine Bluff (29 percent), Washington (29 percent), Tennessee (30 percent), Kentucky, Baylor (36 percent), Missouri (36 percent), New Mexico State (36 percent), Clemson (37 percent), Georgia Tech (38 percent), and Louisville (38 percent), according to the latest athletes' graduation survey done by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University Central Florida.

And what if there was an alternative universe where the NCAA tournament played out based not on the number of baskets but on how well a college did at graduating its athletes? The Web site Inside Higher Education created a bracket that does just that.