Last night, Duke University took the NCAA championship title. Honestly, I was rooting for the underdog Butler. But it was a good game. Props to the two teams’ basketball skills, but also to the fact that the graduation rates for the Black basketball student-athletes on both teams are on the higher end of the spectrum which dips as low as 13 percent at UNLV.

Butler’s graduation rate for Black b-ball student-athletes is 75 percent and 100 percent for white student-athletes. Duke’s graduation rate for Black b-ball student athletes is 89 percent and 100 percent for white student-athletes. Even with the relatively high graduation rates for Black b-ball students at Duke, we can’t overlook that there is a racial disparity in the number of graduates. Also, Duke’s championship team has four Black players as opposed to Kentucky which has ten Black players and an 18 percent graduation rate for Black b-ball student athletes.

As the NCAA tournament started in March, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proposed that teams with graduation rates under 40 percent be banned from future tournaments. According to the study on NCAA graduation rates, 12 schools wouldn’t have been able to compete this year. If Arne Duncan is able to push this requirement, will universities start focusing on providing a college education to their athletes and not just on winning championships?

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