Women’s teams playing in the 2014 NCAA Tournament are graduating players at a higher rate than men’s teams in the tournament, according to a study released on Tuesday by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
The study shows that the women’s teams in the field are graduating at a rate of 87 percent while their male counterparts are graduating at 72 percent.
The women’s 2014 NCAA Tournament has 21 teams graduating players at a 100 percent rate.
Northwestern State University was the only women’s NCAA tournament team to fall below the NCAA-mandated Academic Progress Rate — commonly known as the APR — score of 930, or 50 percent graduation rate equivalent. Eight men’s teams were below that standard in this year’s field.
The study also found a one percent decrease in the disparity between the graduation rates of white and African-American players for women’s teams while that gap was 24 percent for the men’s teams.
The author of the study, Richard Lapchick, said the women’s improvement in closing that gap is proof that men’s teams can accomplish the same.
“Clearly the thing that troubles me in these reports the most is the gap between white and African-American athletes, though for women it’s very different, and it includes a number of situations where the rates for African-Americans are higher than whites,” Lapchick said of the study.
Lapchick also said he would like to see disparity gaps be factored into APR calculations to motivate both men and women’s teams to improve those numbers.
“If (the gap) is narrowing, it should be a positive impact, but if there is a 30 percentage point or more gap and not narrowing, they should be facing penalties,” he said.
Currently, if teams score below a 925 APR they can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. Programs can also face penalties for poor academic performance over time.