He Said/She Said: Graduation Rates

Earlier this month, just in time for March Madness, newspapers reported that the UConn men’s basketball team has a dismal sounding graduation rate of 31%. You don’t need to have done well, or even taken a sociology class to know that’s bad.

He Said

How is it that only 31% of the men’s basketball team has managed to earn a degree? Academics and haterz are up in arms over this number, saying Coach Calhoun doesn’t care about academics, the university doesn’t care about the student-athletes it gives scholarships to, or how big time college sports are a farce.

All of which might be true… who knows?

However, this study (which has UConn ranked just above Arizona, who they just beat in the Elite Eight!) does not take into account players who left school early for the NBA. When you hear that someone is no longer in school and did not graduate, it conjures up an image of someone who bombed out of school, is living back with mom and just got a job manning the register at the local CVS (those people always seem SO miserable).

That’s not the case with those who have gotten drafted in the NBA. Those are individuals who have taken advantage of an incredibly lucrative opportunity and have turned their ability to shoot a basketball into millions of dollars. What a country! But should those players count against the graduation rate? Technically, yes. But it still seems misleading to call the school out for its miserable graduation rate when really its just got a ton of desirable players.

The other factor these numbers aren’t taking into account are the players who might have transferred to another school or returned to their native country, in the case of foreign born players. In reality, the only way to objectively look at these numbers is to get a list of players from the given time frame and look at it case by case. Due to privacy concerns, that might not be legal… but it should still be done. ‘Cause now we need to know! It would be nice to see The Courant run that story but they’re pretty lazy over there so don’t hold your breath.

So to all those people bugging out about the graduation rate; calm down and get a glass of brandy. In other news, UConn is in the Final Four! Go Huskies! And after the tournament, please do your homework.

She Said

As someone who did actually manage to graduate from UCONN, I just want to point out what a monumental task it actually is to get out of that school in four years. When I was there, the advising  was so abysmal and it was so common for students to have to spend an extra couple of semesters there, that I basically minored in “Getting Out of Here On Time.” When I finally showed up in my real advisor’s office (which didn’t happen until sometime Junior year) he was so shocked at how well I’d planned out my schedule that he barely knew what to do with himself. So, it’s no surprise to me that only 31% of the men’s basketball team manages to graduate.

I don’t really agree with Ring Nation that the numbers don’t matter, though. If it were my son, I’d want his ass to graduate! The NBA is great and all, but like any smart parent… I’d insist the kid had a back-up. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a hardass like me in their lives, though.

I’m also not buying this transfer/foreigner argument either. I mean, no school wants to admit its students would rather finish out their educations at BYU or return home to Estonia State University. Seriously, if you can’t convince your kids to hang around with the promise of a free (or partially paid for) education, and god-like treatment…you’ve got a serious problem.

For those Huskies that do manage to graduate, I have one piece of advice though. Don’t bother walking in your graduation. I was stressed out by graduating college beyond belief. I would have spent the day alone in the woods if I could have but I felt like I had to go to the ceremony, for my family. But if you’re part of the CLAS there is no way your family would even know if you actually walk or not…except maybe when the picture the school takes of you on the stairs and charges a ton of money for doesn’t show up. There are so many students they don’t even bother calling your name, and your family would have to have CIA spy equipment to find you in the crowd. So, if you’re one of the 30% that manages to earn a degree, I suggest pretending that you’re going to the ceremony and then just using the time to pack up your dorm room while getting hammered.