On Monday night, the Duke University basketball team’s 68-63 victory over the University of Wisconsin basketball team showed the double threat that the Duke team poses, not just in basketball but also academically.
The Duke program has proven to be a top basketball team over the years, but the school itself is also a top-ranked university nationally. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the private Durham, North Carolina university is ranked in the top 10, at number 8 in the US.
The players at Duke clearly are exceptional being that they are phenomenal athletes and are also able to compete academically in one of the nation’s top schools.
On the same list, the public institution University of Wisconsin is ranked 47th.
It is doubly impressive what the Duke basketball players are able to accomplish on and off the court, especially given that the academic standards at Duke are no doubt more strenuous on the players intellectually than the standards at Wisconsin.
Yet, it comes as quite the surprise that the Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan has seemingly never checked the academic rankings–perhaps because they have no bearing on how he regards his athletes. Coach Bo Ryan’s post-game comments suggest he is unaware of the high academic standards that Duke University and its players are held to on a daily basis.
The 67-year-old dusty white-haired Ryan accused Duke of having a “rent-a-player” mentality, suggesting that Duke’s team standards are high on basketball and low on academics. Ryan, however, was more than likely mistaking Duke for his own school, Wisconsin. Graduation rates reveal that Wisconsin is certainly the “low academics” school of the two.
The NCAA calculates graduation rates based on whether athletes graduate in six years after entering college.
Data on the most recent cohorts the NCAA tracked shows us that stark differences exist between Duke and Wisconsin players’ graduation rates.
Wisconsin falls unremarkably at the bottom of graduate rates, while Duke lands remarkably on top.
For the past four cohorts entering the freshman year between 2004 and 2007, Duke basketball has boasted 100 percent graduation success rate, graduating all players within 6 years.
Wisconsin basketball, on the other hand, has recorded dismal graduation success rates. In two years, the test had only 40 percent of players graduate within 6 years. In the other two years, only 44 and 50 percent of Wisconsin players graduated within 6 years.
Surely Bo Ryan needs to show greater concern over what his team accomplishes off the court. He needs to make sure they attend classes and finish their schooling, unless of course, his team is the rent-a-player culprit.
In the Boston Globe, Derrick Jackson compared Wisconsin basketball’s graduation rates to all the other teams in the tournament:
If the 68 teams were seeded by graduation rates, the Badgers would be a bottom seed. They have the lowest Graduation Success Rate for black men of zero and the third-lowest overall at 40 percent. They were one of 16 teams that should be disqualified for historically graduating less than 50 percent of either black or white players or having an overall rate under 50 percent.
Duke is not only better at Wisconsin at basketball, 68-to-63-and-a 2015-National-Championship’s-worth-better according to Monday’s result. The Duke players also are exceedingly better academically.
These are facts.
In fact, Duke’s academic distinctions far outweigh their athletic ones. I’d surely prefer to send my children to a school that graduates 100 percent of its athletes than one that graduates a middling 40 or 50 percent, at best. Those rates reflect the integrity of the academic program, the school, and also the mental ability of the players. With 100 percent graduation rates for the past four cohorts, the Duke players are truly student-athletes. The Wisconsin players, athletes first, not so much student.
Where the confusion lies, however, is in white media’s depiction of the Wisconsin basketball team.
The lies that white police officers tell are akin to the lies that white media professionals pen when they praise the Wisconsin basketball team’s academics.
White media fails to report on these hard facts that the NCAA readily provides of graduation of scholarship athletes. Instead, they would rather paint Wisconsin as the marquee academic school in a tribal attempt to bolster the ideology of white intellectual superiority and to slight Black intellectual achievements.
White media does not talk about Duke’s all-Black starting five as academic superstars! It disrupts the white narrative that wants to perpetuate the lie that whites are better academically than Blacks. Therefore, any time the white media wants to talk about athletes being students who study, the focus is solely on white athletes.
Karen Crouse’s 2014 New York Times article on the Wisconsin basketball team is the epitome of the lies white media tells. The article is entitled: “Celebrate? Sorry, We’re Studying.” The featured picture for the article shows three white boys on their laptops. The article entails how the Wisconsin players were just down the street from Disneyland, outside there was fanfare and partying, but the Wisconsin players stayed in the hotel, studying Italian, Plessy v. Ferguson, and geography.
The visuals exhibit a striking demonstration of the New York Times’ “white-people-study” narrative. During the entire article, only closeups of white players are included. Karen Crouse and the New York Times do not want readers to think that Black athletes study. It is a shame that the New York Times wages this unnecessary, ongoing war on Black men. The paper consistently fails to present Black men in humanizing and empathetic ways, unfortunately this disservice is also extended to Black student-athletes.
Despite the New York Times’ insistence on top-notch reporting, Crouse also fails to mention Wisconsin’s dismal graduation rates. Obviously, they do not add up with her illusion that Wisconsin is a study first, party later school.
You would look hard, actually it would be an infinite search, to find a New York Times article entitled “Celebrate? Sorry, We’re Studying” that featured closeups of all Black players, despite Blacks being the dominant participants in basketball and football in college. Such a depiction would simply be against everything the racially biased propaganda paper stands for.
The scapegoat for many incompetent basketball programs is the University of Kentucky. Teams who cannot go the full regular season and the post-season, up until the Final Four, undefeated, while achieving the record for the most games won in a single season, look to the University of Kentucky team and say that they are only great because they are a one-and-done program that doesn’t graduate students.
Again, these haters speak far too loosely than the research shows. Kentucky basketball’s graduation success rates, while not as impressive as Duke’s, are quite good. In the most recent cohorts, Kentucky has graduated 82 and 89 percent of its cohorts. They are doing a hell of a lot better than those players are doing at Wisconsin!
It would benefit white media to report on these facts and to encourage Wisconsin players to strive for better, instead of pretending that they are ahead of the curve.
The facts don’t lie. It’s time to start reporting on them and not fabricating false truths.
Clearly, when it comes to academics, Wisconsin needs to get on Duke and Kentucky’s level, and not vice versa.