In a study released March 16th, it was reported that the University of Maryland mens' basketball program graduates only 10% of its players.
The study compared the graduation rates of the schools participating in the NCAA Tournament and was conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.
This study was based on information furnished by the schools and measured the six year graduation rates of the freshman classes of 1999-2002.
Binghamton, Marquette, FSU, Utah ST., Wake Forest, and Western Kentucky all had graduation rates of 100%.
Cal Northridege was the only school in the tournament with a lower graduation rate than Maryland. They graduated just 8% of their players.
When asked about Maryland's poor graduation rate, Coach Gary Williams brushed it off to "many of our players leave early for the NBA or play in Europe."
It's hard to understand what a statistic, as alarming as it may sound to some, really means for Maryland and for college basketball.
When comparing graduation rates, it's the reliability of the statistics that have to be questioned.
These statistics must be questioned because each school has different academic standards and it has been reported that certain schools steer athletes to easy courses.
In a sense, a graduation rate is a self-imposed monitoring system. It's not a standardized accounting of which schools are actually getting their players prepared for life after basketball.
What's more alarming than such a low graduation rate is that the fans of these institutions don't really care. The bottom line is that they care about wins and loses.
I don't know if Gary Williams' job is to get his players to graduate. The school provides them with a scholarship and they provide the school with competitive basketball.
That is the stripped down version of the contract between a player and a school.
Gary Williams and the University are not just partners in the basketball...they are partners in winning basketball and if they don't win, heads roll.
The unwritten rule is that if you don't win, you lose your coaching job. Nowhere in the contract does it say you have to graduate your players.
For schools like Maryland and Cal Northridge it's obvious that their basketball players are not going there to get a degree. For some reason, this just doesn't sound good!
It was also reported that for both of these programs, 50% of the white players graduated and zero percent of the blacks did.
No black player graduated from the Maryland basketball program, according to the study. That's amazing!