Late last year, the NCAA posted the graduation success rates of all collegiate-athletic programs in the nation. Among Division I men's basketball programs, the University of Connecticut men's basketball team earned a GSR of 8%. In other words, one out of 12 student-athletes graduated. The national average in the sport is 74%
UConn's most recent GSR reflected the graduation statuses of players who entered the University between 2003 and 2006. After scouring archived rosters on the school's athletics site, we actually found that 17 players entered the University within that time frame. Five students were discounted from GSR calculations because they left the institution while in good academic standing. That's that same as having a GPA of 2.6 or higher.
One of the first articles written about the team's GSR came from Hartford Courant Sports Writer Dom Amore. Sticking to our MetaMedia objectives, we asked why this story is newsworthy. Amore says it's news because UConn has an academic reputation to uphold and an 8% graduation success rate isn't satisfactory.
The Hartford Courant was one of the few Connecticut media entities to write about this subject. A plausible argument that the story isn't news comes from the fact that many of these UConn basketball players have gone on to achieve their professional career goals in the NBA, which is the main reason students go to college: to land sustainable careers.
Media Lab interns fought to get answers from UConn athletic staff namely Associate Director of Athletic Communications Mike Enright and Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Phil Chardis. We rang phones, typed e-mail after e-mail, and visited the campus for more details on UConn's GSR. We called and left messages for Assistant Coach Karl Hobbs, unfortunately to no avail.
An instrumental figure in recruiting players like Caron Butler and Rip Hamilton, Hobbs would probably know:
-What an ideal recruit looks like.
-If scouted recruits are academically sound, or..
-If recruitment is more heavily weighed on athletic ability.
Earlier this year Phil Chardis said "granting interviews with the people you've requested would be near-impossible" because of coaches hectic schedules during the season. Chardis then referred us to Athletic Director Warde Manuel's well-documented quote stating that the academic progress rate is improving. NCAA Representative at UConn Scott Brown says the APR is only a prediction of what the GSR may be, and is based whether students maintain a GPA of 2.6 or above, and maintain their full-time status at the University.
We also attempted to talk with Academic Advisor Victoria Siminoff who expressed her reluctance to speak with the media.
In this episode, you'll hear from Hartford Courant Journalist Dom Amore, Former Manager and walk-on to the Men's basketball team Trey James, UConn students and staff for a better look at UConn's 8% graduation success rate. Although many of these student-athletes go on to play in the NBA, many of their NBA careers are short-lived. So how adequately are these student-athletes without a degree prepped for life outside of basketball?