Secretary Arne Duncan Endorses Knight Commission Recommendation of Minimum Graduation Rates for Postseason Play

A commentary from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, posted on ESPN on March 25, 2010:

“It is time to boost graduation rates for a number of NCAA tournament basketball teams with poor academic records and indefensible disparities in the grad rates of white and black players.

In 2001, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics proposed that teams should be ineligible for postseason play if they failed to graduate at least 50 percent of their student-athletes. Now, nearly a decade later, I am proposing that the NCAA adopt an even easier standard for postseason competition — teams that graduate fewer than 40 percent of their players should be ineligible for postseason competition and honors.

If a team fails to graduate two out of five players, how serious are the institution and coach about their players’ academic success and preparing their student-athletes for life? Growing up as a kid on the South Side of Chicago who loved basketball, I got to see the best that college sports had to offer. And the worst.

When college sports programs have their priorities in order, there is no better place to learn invaluable lessons than on the playing field or court. College sports — along with the military — are arguably among the most important and largest developers of future leaders in the country. Discipline, selflessness, resilience, passion, courage — all were evident in last week’s NCAA tournament games.

But I fail to see why a small number of programs that seem largely indifferent to the academic success of their student-athletes continue to be rewarded with opportunities for postseason glory. …”

For the full commentary, link here.