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March 18th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Duncan wants ban for NCAA teams with low grad rates

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan played professional basketball in Australia from 1987 to 1991."]

(CNN) – Should college basketball teams that don't graduate at least 40 percent of their players be banned from postseason play?

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan thinks so.

“Teams that fail to graduate 40 percent of their players should be ineligible for post-season competition. It's a low bar, frankly, and not many teams would be ineligible," said Duncan. "Over time, we should set a higher bar. But it's a minimum, a bright line, which every program should meet to vie for post-season honors.”

Duncan's proposal would keep a dozen teams from playing in this year's tournament, including top-seeded Kentucky.

On Thursday's American Morning, our Kate Bolduan will take a look at the issue.

What do you think? Sound off below.

Filed under: Sports
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Lenny

    What part of the word "Scholarship" has its root in sports?

    March 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  2. Sarah Caldwell

    Let's go from the other end. We could require that students receiving athletic scholarships may not work as professional athletes for 5 years after leaving college for whatever reason. That might be hard to enforce, but Signing Days might include another contract. Require that scholarship athletes who go pro share their salaries from the first 5 pro years at a varying rate, based on when they leave. "One and done" folks can donate 90% for the first 5 years; after 2 years of college, players pay 75% for the next 4 years, after 3 years, 60% for 3 years. (This assumes that they leave in academic good standing. If not, rates go up 5% and extend for another year.) If they graduate in 4 years and go pro, they owe only the repayment of their scholarship. Students go pro after 4 years without graduating owe 15% of their first 2 years. Obviously, student athletes who work in some other field owe nothing.

    Let the NFL and NBA run their own farm leagues. It's ridiculous that tax payer money and student time are spent on entertainment, rather than education. Colleges and universities prepare other entertainers: musicians and actors, too; but their scholarships are modest, entrance fees to watch them perform are modest, and their performances are actually directly related to their majors.

    I've taught in colleges with athletic programs. The programs weren't very good and included no future professionals. That did not, however, keep coaches from establishing schedules that kept students out of many majors (No classes after 2 pm), particularly majors where graduates have higher salaries. Students missed classes because they were on the road.

    To graduate (honestly) in 4 years under those conditions requires a superb intellect, a great high school education and a dedication to studying–dedication at a level that is limited to one area of one's life. Being a college athlete usually implies and always requires that dedication to the sport.

    March 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Paul

    educate...educate...educate....what is the problem....the same number of graduates in all other studies should carry over to "sports"...

    March 29, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  4. Dragnet

    Ihave to agree with a great number of comments. Colleges are a joke as their focus is about sports and not education. Why not cut out sports in college all together as that way those that attend can focus on education. Not all students are dumb jocks. Some go to college to gain knowledge. But those that leave college for sports careers, are those that usually wouldn't amount to a hill of beans anyways. Just listen to when they are interviewed. Maybe they've been hit in the head too many times but as for intelligence, they fit the title of "dumb jock." What society fails to realize is that education is power. These jocks only survive sports till their 30's and then what. They become an award of the state and are broke because they waste the money and are again, "dumb jocks."

    March 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  5. Pastor Michael

    I agree that higher institutions should be penalized for not promoting and helping each student on campus to perform at the level of personal excellence. As a former athlete, I experienced coaches who did not truly care about my educational life or future after sports. My grades were average as a collegiate student but could have been much better if I had stronger and more dilligent support. Many students are being used as pawns to further the marketing potential of universities and coaches. many of the famous name coaches that we applaud should be put under a public microscope...

    March 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  6. Tim

    I think they should hold athletes to the same standards, or higher, as other students. But, I'm not sure is a straight-out ban on post season play is the answer. Plus they have to work with the NBA on the 1-and-done issue. Maybe the NCAA and NBA could work out a mutally beneficial approach.

    March 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  7. shadrick

    I dont think they should ban teams because of grad rates, thay should focus on how they play?do they play good?stuff like that.

    March 25, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  8. John

    Yes, ban them! Colleges are struggling for funds to educate, and graduate tomorrow's work force. These are not student athletes. They are pros. If the "bigs" want to use college sports as their farm system, let them pay for the programs.
    I work for a university, and some of the idiots brought in here play for their yrs of elligable and promptly flunk out. This does not promote the school's mission, or responsibility to the folks who fund it.

    March 24, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  9. Aiyana

    Why just ban the failing ones , there are plenty or reasons for high schools to have phyiscal education of or type or another. But there really is no legitimate reason for a school of higher education to do so. The fact that so many are obsessed with collage sports is totally assine , higher education should me exactly that.

    You goto school to learn not to engage in what amounts to a almost vain attempt to go pro. Seriously its what 10% top chance you could make it pro? Time to stop using tax dollars to create what amounts to a minor league for pro basketball and football.

    March 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  10. j

    40% is way TOO LOW . It's common sence in todays NCAA sport scene that it is a FEEDER SYSTEM to the various professional sports teams. I am sick of watching true criminals and "gangters" playing sports because they are good at it. No pride left in at the colleges that admit these players and give scholorships , just to win. Many are just "thugs" as evidenced by all of the problems and crimes by players. I am sick of hearing these "sob stories" about all these poor kids who didn't have an easy life, etc, etc. That's the problem with sports and the NCAA. TOO lenient on the thugs and you even let the players show their 'gang signs" and act out like the thugs and criminals they are. One last comment, 1 violation and out and schools that don't have at least 80% graduation don't get to go to tournaments.
    You can make an exception for students x1 that drop out. Clean up the NCAA and stop worrying about the big money....

    March 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  11. Mike J.

    The men's NCAA programs have become nothing more than farm teams for the NBA. As such, the NBA should be footing the bill for the scholorships that send these kids to colledge that will never graduate. Public money should not be spent on programs that fail to conform to minimal academic standards

    Ironic that the number 1 NCAA women's team, UCONN Huskies have a 100% graduation rate and a 3.75 GPA. These are the type of champions that should be glorified in the sports pages rather than the illiterate kids that get lucky enough to make it into the NBA only to loose everything because they never get the education to manage it.

    March 23, 2010 at 6:05 am |
  12. Al Tam


    People who can't write a simple sentence without spectacular spelling and punctuation mistakes have no business commenting on education.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:14 am |
  13. alissa

    This is obserd. Not everyone does well in school, it doesnt come easy for some. If they're good at ball, let them play . they're smart with that. They can have a great carrer as a ball player.

    March 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  14. Ian Grigsby

    First of all, the NCAA should be making these determinations... NOT government beauracrats.

    Second, this number, though ugly, is highly deceptive when considering top programs regularly recruit players that are "one-and-done." Kentucky can regularly recruit the kind of talent that will play for one year and leave for the NBA the next. Not to mention the other kids who will leave for the NBA after their second and/or third seasons for the NBA (or other professional leagues) draft. The NBA should first remove its policy of requiring that interested draftees wait one year post high school before entering the draft.

    Third, every kid who gets recruited has the opportunity to attain an education. If they choose to waste that opportunity, then they're no different than any other kid whose parents are paying for their education and then squander it.

    March 18, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  15. mike-sey

    These results are shocking and put the lie to the carefully nurtured idea that sports are a door to an education for minorities and those who couldn't otherwise afford a College education, which by the way is pricing itself beyond the reach of more and more people.

    In fact it makes a travesty of the idea that colleges and their sports programs are institutions of higher learning.

    Combine this with the story of rewriting history in Texas texts and its all part of the dumbing down of America. Some might say the 'deliberate dumbing down of America.' No wonder corporations are looking abroad for skills and outsourcing more and more of their operations, but of course this may be what they've been after all along.

    Pretty soon all the rabid patriots at home will have left is the opportunity to be cannon fodder in foreign wars, their tea parties with tea imported from India, their flags, made in china, and Fox news to be watched on Japanese televisions.

    March 18, 2010 at 7:12 am |