Women’s NCAA Tournament graduation rates tops Men

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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.

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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.

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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.

Iowa State lands three-star SG Jakolby Long

Steve Prohm
Associated Press
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Iowa State received its fourth verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 Friday morning, as 6-foot-4 shooting guard Jakolby Long made his pledge to Steve Prohm’s program. A native of Mustang, Oklahoma, Long attends Mustang HS and played for the Athletes First grassroots program this summer.

In Nike EYBL play for Athletes First, Long averaged 16.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

According to Cyclone Fanatic, Long was also considering Georgia, Texas and Utah before deciding that he’ll play his college basketball at Iowa State.¬†Long will join junior Matt Thomas, sophomore Hallice Cooke and transfer Nick Babb in the competition for minutes off the ball when he arrives on campus next year. According to Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune, Long could be a in a position where he sees solid playing time immediately.

Long joins junior college products Donovan Jackson and Emmanuel Malou, and 2016 forward Solomon Young in Iowa State’s 2016 class to date. And the Cyclones, who won’t use all 13 scholarships this season, still have room for a couple more additions for next season.

Iowa State has four seniors (Naz Long, Abdel Nader, Georges Niang and Jameel McKay), and junior point guard Monte’ Morris is considered by some to be a candidate to enter the 2016 NBA Draft.

UofL foundation hires firm to review escort allegations

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An independent Louisville affiliate has hired a law firm to review an escort’s allegations that former men’s basketball staffer Andre McGee hired dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

The University of Louisville Foundation announced the hiring Thursday of the Stites & Harbison law firm. The foundation does fundraising for the university.

Louisville President James Ramsey also said Thursday he “fully” supports athletic director Tom Jurich “as we work to identify the facts in this situation.” Ramsey reiterated the school has hired former NCAA enforcement official Chuck Smrt to lead the athletic department’s investigation.

Men’s basketball spokesman Kenny Klein had no comment on a CBS Sports report that former Cardinals recruit JaQuan Lyle, now an Ohio State freshman, confirmed the “gist of allegations” detailed in Katina Powell’s book during a meeting Tuesday with the NCAA.

Lyle originally signed with Louisville before de-committing and eventually landing with the Buckeyes. OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed the NCAA meeting via email on Wednesday but said there were no issues with Ohio State. He did not mention Louisville.

Powell’s book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” was released online last weekend by a publishing affiliate of the Indianapolis Business Journal. A hardcover version of the 104-page book is scheduled for release on Monday.

The book states that McGee hired Powell and other dancers, including three of her daughters, for 22 shows allegedly performed from 2010 to 2014 at the players’ Billy Minardi Hall dormitory.

McGee left Louisville in 2014 for Missouri-Kansas City, which placed him on paid leave Friday. A message left Thursday with his Louisville attorney, Scott C. Cox, was not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for IBJ’s publishing arm could not be reached either.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has said McGee denied Powell’s allegations. In a radio interview Tuesday he denied knowledge of what took place and said last week that others he talked to didn’t know about the activities described in the book.

“I’m going through 15 people who worked here, and not one person even had a premonition of something wrong,” Pitino said Friday. “Not one person living in the dorm had even the slightest premonition. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The Hall of Fame coach wasn’t mentioned in Ramsey’s statement in which the chancellor praised Jurich’s athletic program as “exemplary” at the school.

“It is important that the university – all of us – stay focused on our day-to-day work of providing our outstanding students with a world-class education,” Ramsey said. “The investigation of the allegations may take time and we must, as one university, continue doing the work we do to move our university and our community forward.”