Is NCAA Basketball Game of Race, Gender Gaps?

18 03 2009

School is to sports . . .

Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog
NCAA Tournament Teams Show Gaps in Academic Performance by Race and Gender

Two new reports examining the academic performance of the men’s and women’s college-basketball teams playing in this month’s NCAA Division I tournaments show that gaps persist between the academic achievement of white and black players, and between male and female players.

The studies[were] conducted by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. . .

Over all, though there has been improvement, men’s teams continue to struggle with graduating their African-American players, the report said. A substantial gap persists between the graduation rates of white athletes and African-American athletes: Fifty-eight percent of the teams graduated 70 percent or more of their white players, compared with 32 percent of their African-American players.

“The continuing significant disparity between the academic success
between African-American and white men’s basketball student-athletes is deeply troubling,” Richard Lapchick, director of the institute, said in a written statement. “The good news is that the gaps are narrowing slightly.”

. . .Female basketball players, meanwhile, perform much better in the
classroom than their male counterparts, and the gap on women’s teams between the academic performance of white and African-American athletes is smaller, Mr. Lapchick said.

. . .The reports will soon be available on the institute’s Web site.
Libby Sander

Posted on Tuesday March 17, 2009



16 responses

18 03 2009

I think the numbers are meaningless without factoring in where the kids started from. A white high school basketball player is probably more likely to be graduating high school in decent financial shape. If the black kids are starting several behind academically (inferior schools, preponderance of single parents homes, etc) it’s not surprising that there graduation rate is poorer.

You also have to be careful with NCAA statistics because if your sophomore center drops out because he is a top 5 NBA draft pick and signs a $30 million dollar contract, the NCAA considers that a negative, because he didn’t graduate. Is it the degree that is important, or the preparation for the future career, which in this case is basketball?

I will also note that the Purdue men’s basketball team is carrying a cumulative 3.14 GPA – which is better than the overall student body average of 2.88.

18 03 2009

Decent financial shape? Arrhhggg! That should be decent academic shape.

18 03 2009

Funny though, they do go together!
The best predictor research has found of student academic success, is his family’s and neighborhood’s financial success . . .

18 03 2009

And vice versa later, say many studies. The best predictor of financial success after leaving school, is the academic success you had. Pro sports notwithstanding?

19 03 2009
Crimson Wife

The girls are more motivated academically than the boys because they have fewer opportunities for a lucrative professional athletic career. Yes, there’s the WNBA but that has 13 teams compared to 30 for the NBA, and even the superstars in the WNBA make peanuts compared to the salaries for run-of-the-mill NBA players. So the female NCAA players are far more likely to actually need a college degree in the future in order to support themselves than their male counterparts.

20 03 2009

So — following CW logic, the reason white male b-ball players do better in the classroom than their African-American counterparts is that they, too, realize they’re unlikely to make it in the NBA and will need a real job? 😉

21 03 2009
terry, ornament of his grace

Can a black girl jump in here? First, an introduction:

Conservative, Christian, married 14 years, three teens in public school, two littles who’ll be homeschooled, raised in FL in what is known as the oldest Black municipality in the US. Knows a little something about the black community.

Bottom line: the disparity is because in the black community we have a 70% illegitimacy rate. Most of these kids who go to college on athletic scholarships are strugging students in high school, and I believe that’s mainly due to an unstable home life. Not every one is college material and though many of these students may have done well with the proper guidance and academic support, they don’t get it. They are baby sat and pushed through high school by teachers, coaches, and administrators who give them passing grades because they care more about winning games than they do about these boys’ academics.

So when they go off to college, and there is no one pulling the strings to keep them on the straight and narrow, left to their own devices to figure out how to succeed, they don’t. Because they haven’t received the tools for success. The only reason many of them even graduate high school is because down here, the teachers have mastered the art of teaching kids how to pass the stupid FCAT.

As for the disparity between boys and girls, I believe that is because public schools force a style of education that is highly receptive to the way girls learn, but not boys, particulalry in the younger years. Little boys are not supposed to (girls either, but especially boys) be expected to sit for hours on end with out a substantial amount of time to run around and have physical play. So many boys start to fall behind in elementary school and never really catch up to the girls who adapt much easier to the way schools “educate”.

I have friends who fought for their son to get PE every day so tha he would have at least a small amount of physical activity each day to break up the monotony and it did wonders for him. Amazingly, instead of giving PE to all the kids daily, the elementary school simply upended the one kid’s schedule to make sure he got PE every day. So only the kid whose parents were willing to be his advocate got what he needed.

Oh, I found you from Spunky’s.

21 03 2009
terry, ornament of his grace

Oh, as for the crack about the white kids knowing they won’t go to the NBA, most black kids don’t either. Only about 2% of college athletes have any real chances of making it into pro sports. Most of these black kids drop out, come home, and struggle. Some in dead in end jobs. Some do okay. But more than a a few end up behind bars. I know. I’ve grown up and gone to school with plenty of them.

21 03 2009

Welcome Terry, glad you’re here, and I really appreciate your new perspective. (You are from Eatonville near Orlando, I presume? Cool.) When I was lobbying for the Alachua County school board — twenty-some years ago — the Orange County school officials were among our closest and most professionally enlightened allies. South of you though, was way too much self-serving urban corruption to serve families, kids, schools or the citizens well, imo. . .hope Orange hasn’t gone over to the Dark Side since then? 😉

You’re right that was a crack above, about white and black male players. I was trying to show how the narrow Objectivist (I would say Skinnerian and chillingly inhumane) “logic” of cause-and-effect individual effort, doesn’t explain reality by itself. You need to read the whole story.

I write a LOT here and elsewhere about power of story, about the differences between Education and School. Also about the key role of play in learning, and of choice, not compulsion. My blog partner Nance lives in South Florida and has written a lot about the “stupid FCAT” as you so succinctly put it! Hope you can stick around and keep talking. 🙂

21 03 2009

Let’s throw this into the story — here’s a psychology prof tying school measures like test scores (as classroom “success”) with AIG or NCAA signing bonuses (marketplace “success”) and saying it’s generally wrong motivation because it leads to moral and practical wrong. Seems to me people whose main focus is moral wrong would be especially attuned to this, rather than blind to it? But sadly, I seem to be wrong . . .

What’s wrong with a bonus, especially with a culture of bonuses?
. . .It is a truism that you should “be careful what you measure, for what you measure is what you’ll get.” Just as true is that “you should be careful what you pay for, for what you pay for is what you’ll get.”

And whether it is traders trying to improve the corporate bottom line, or teachers trying to improve the standardized test scores of their students, bonuses encourage a narrowness of vision and aspiration that results in consequences like the ones we’re living through today.

23 03 2009
terry, ornament of his grace

I agree with this principle, in general. I mean, in FL, this goes even further with schools getting bonuses for improving scores.

The problem: teachers are already getting paid a salary to educate students and have signed a contract saying that they will do so.Ditto the guy at Best Buy trying to sell me a TV. And theoretically of course, teachers have a heart for kids, right? So why do they need a bonus for doing what they “love” to do?isn’t summers off, paid vacation and 10 additional personal days bonus enough?

I haven’t read much of your blog, but something tells me you won’t agree. Still I’ll say it. People have to be paid to do what’s right, what they are in many cases already being paid to do, because of the grredy, lazy, yes, sinful nature of man. Most people, particularly in the materialistic climate we live in, can’t help but stop and think about “What’s in it for me?”

Bosses know this, because they are the same way!

I agree with the writer of the article you link. Bonuses are a bad idea in most, if not all, cases. And they should certainly not be prearranged contractually in advance. A periodic merit pay raise makes much more sense.

23 03 2009

And neither bonuses nor merit pay are the best motivators — see management studies that show more money (in any form) is a short-term motivator and not the only or most important thing. It’s been ages since I dealt with this research but here’s one example of what I mean, from the first thing I could grab from Google:

Five major approaches that have led to our understanding of motivation are Maslow’s need-hierarchy theory, Herzberg’s two- factor theory, Vroom’s expectancy theory, Adams’ equity theory, and Skinner’s reinforcement theory.

. . .A study of industrial employees, conducted by Kovach (1987), yielded the following ranked order of motivational factors: (a) interesting work, (b) full appreciation of work done, and (c) feeling of being in on things.

Another study of employees, conducted by Harpaz (1990), yielded the following ranked order of motivational factors: (a) interesting work, (b) good wages, and (c) job security.

In this study and the two cited above, interesting work ranked as the most important motivational factor. Pay was not ranked as one of the most important motivational factors by Kovach (1987), but was ranked second in this research and by Harpaz (1990). Full appreciation of work done was not ranked as one of the most important motivational factors by Harpaz (1990), but was ranked second in this research and by Kovach (1987).

The discrepancies in these research findings supports the idea that what motivates employees differs given the context in which the employee works.

What is clear, however, is that employees rank interesting work as the most important motivational factor.

23 03 2009

Terry, in management research parlance, you sound pretty “theory X” ! 🙂

You’re right we don’t see eye to eye on that; we radically unschool, as far from Theory X as we can possibly get. I’d say theory X puts the “school” in “homeschool” often so much so that the poor kids are just changing one prison setting for another . . .

23 03 2009
Nance Confer

Most people, particularly in the materialistic climate we live in, can’t help but stop and think about “What’s in it for me?”


And we are carefully taught that this is so. That short-term, greedy thinking is the best and only way to get ahead, that getting ahead matters and everyone else will screw you if you are good first.

In and out of school. In and out of church. This message is drummed into our wee little heads.

Solution? Come down hard on the offenders. Let the beatings continue until everyone is good.

How’s that working for us?


23 03 2009
terry, ornament of his grace

Interesting, I don’t necessarily think of myself as “theory X” in practice. Because I believe in being master of one thing rather than a jack of all trades. I encourage my children to follow their passion rather than be involved in an endless round of activities.

The reality is, whether we like it or not, is that most people work where they can make the most money, whether they enjoy the work or not. It’s about paying the rent.

23 03 2009

I was thinking more of the sinful nature and lazy comments. Very Theory X. Man must be watched, guarded against even, forced to work, punished, etc.

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