April 4, 2013, 12:21 pm
Last summer the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team became the first program in a major conference to face a ban on play in the NCAA tournament for poor academic performance.
Since the problems surfaced, university officials say they have made significant changes in their athletics culture, removing the director of academic services for athletes and replacing the top academic adviser for men’s basketball.
A new athletic director brought a different perspective as well. Warde J. Manuel, who took over the Huskies’ program in February 2012, is a former academic adviser who helped the University at Buffalo (part of the State University of New York) improve its academic standing.
At Connecticut, Mr. Manuel meets personally with athletes who do not attain certain academic benchmarks. Colleagues say the former University of Michigan football player, who is a past member of …
November 20, 2012, 5:30 pm
Notre Dame’s football program this week became the first to earn a No. 1 ranking in the Bowl Championship Series standings while having the nation’s top graduation rate.
The Fighting Irish had a 97-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate in the most recent period. That’s more than 20 points higher than the results of any of the other top-five BCS programs.
The team’s Academic Progress Rate, a more accurate NCAA measure of players’ real-time academic performance, is 970, putting it in the top 70 to 80 percent of football programs nationally.
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, shared a few thoughts with The Chronicle about the challenge of balancing academics with a sports-crazed culture.
Q. How do you emphasize academics with so much pressure to win?
A. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible, either. It requires a real commitment up and down the line….
November 15, 2012, 10:20 am
Participating in lower-tier bowls does little to drive enrollment but adds slightly to the bottom line, new research suggests, countering the notion that postseason football, outside of the highest-rated games, is a money drain.
Bowl participation also does not lead to poorer classroom performance by players, a finding that contradicts previous studies, which found that athletes who put in extra practice hours during the postseason often did worse in their classes.
The study–“The Effects of Bowl Game Participation on Athletes and Institutions,” which is to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education–looked at the bottom quarter of the 32 or so bowls played every year since 2003.
More than half of the roughly 120 institutions in the Football Bowl Subdivision receive a bowl invitation every year (this year 70 teams will…
June 21, 2012, 4:03 pm
The Connecticut men’s basketball team was the only major-conference program to draw a postseason ban as part of the stricter new NCAA academic-progress penalties announced on Wednesday. Because of a series of low APR scores in recent years, the Huskies, who won the national title in 2011, must sit out next year’s NCAA tournament.
Three years ago, UConn had an Academic Progress Rate of 826 out of a possible 1,000. The following year, 2010-11, the Huskies posted a 978. This year’s number isn’t available yet, but university officials say it’s in the same higher range.
That’s a pretty substantial turnaround, so I asked Susan Herbst, the university’s president, to describe how it happened.
She credits Sally M. Reis, a longtime professor of education, with much of the progress. Reis has spent her career working with students who have special needs, ranging from those with learning…
April 20, 2012, 12:15 am
Chapel Hill, N.C.–”You may get the idea that I’m somehow anti-NCAA or that I’m a critic of the NCAA,” Jay Bilas said in all seriousness. “I’m critical, but I love college sports. I believe in what the NCAA is supposed to stand for–I just don’t think they always stand up for that.”
That’s how one of the NCAA’s biggest critics started his keynote address at the annual conference of the College Sport Research Institute here Thursday. Then, over the next hour, the ESPN analyst picked apart the many contradictions he sees in the association.
Among his criticism:
Amateurism, the bedrock principle upon which NCAA sports is based, is a sham. “Amateurism doesn’t provide us with anything of real value. It doesn’t make a person a better student. It doesn’t enhance their education. It doesn’t make them a better teammate,” he said. “All it does is provide a cap among college athletes.”