Go Muskies!

As a proud Class of ’71 Xavier University graduate (full disclosure: I’ve never given them any money, then or now), I was of course thrilled to see the old alma mater on Page One of Tuesday’s New York Times.

Headline (in the dead-tree edition):

Xavier May Be N.C.A.A. Underdog, but its Scholarly Nun Is 77-0

Nut graf:

Xavier, a Jesuit university in Cincinnati, is entering the N.C.A.A.tournament seeded sixth in the West Region with a 24-8 record. But Sister Rose Ann Fleming is a perfect 77-0. Since she became the academic adviser for Xavier athletics in 1985, every men’s basketball player who has played as a senior has left with a diploma.

What follows is a predictably heart-warming story about the good work Sister Fleming does in getting Xavier’s athletes an education. Relevant statistics:

The N.C.A.A. began tracking and publicizing the Academic Progress Rate (A.P.R.) for individual sports programs, by college, in 2004; those that fall below certain standards can be hit with penalties like losing scholarships. In January, Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged the N.C.A.A. to redouble its efforts.

The N.C.A.A. notes that graduation rates for basketball players have slowly risen in recent years and are slightly higher than those for the general student population.

But universities like Xavier are leaning more heavily than ever on academic advisers. Xavier’s basketball team has the tournament’s 11th-highest A.P.R., which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation rates. And people there know whom to thank.

Tell it to Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson, who has long been on a crusade to spotlight the NCAA’s dismal graduation rate (latest salvo here).

Just asking, Derrick, but would it hurt to shift gears and give a shoutout to the Xavier Musketeers?

P.S. You think that nickname is weird? You should’ve seen the mural in the Campus Center Pub.

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4 Responses to Go Muskies!

  1. af says:

    The annual Jackson article about graduation rates used to include a seeding chart with the grad rates listed aside each team instead of its won lost record. I guess the Globe, in yet another cost cutting move, decided not to give the space to include it this year. Then, we would see which schools were graduating their student-athletes, or more appropriately, athletes. But yes, it would have been nice to see schools highlighted when they did an exemplary job academically. I used to follow the tournament back in the days of UCLA’s domination in the ’60, when it was the NCAA basketball championship. Now, that its all about “March Madness”, it’s more about an overblown, big time event, a la the Stupor Bowl, instead of a championship tournament. I don’t watch it, and don’t pay too much attention to it, either.

  2. Curmudgeon says:

    If the NCAA money folks had their way, it would be “March, April and May Madness”

    But I guess the Minor Leagues need their big-bucks championships just like the Pro’s do.

  3. Sam Ellison says:

    Further video evidence can be seen here:

    http://bit.ly/9mUsSv

    Nice win yesterday, too.

  4. Pingback: Go (Home, Alas), Muskies! « Campaign Outsider

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