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November 28, 2016 Comments (0) International Education

March Gradness? Duncan Calls on NCAA to Boost Academics


Apparently, March Madness presents a chance to make some extremely important points about higher education, and now U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan C within an editorial published on ed.gov C is getting in around the act and upbraiding the NCAA for neglecting to maintain a healthy balance between academics and sports within the colleges and universities it oversees.

Barring University of Connecticut in the post-season because of its inadequate academic showing should be only the initial step, Duncan argues, and other alike efforts are necessary for order to make \”student-athlete\” more than a meaningless buzzword.

Although the NCAA has taken a meaningful first step by raising the minimum academic benchmarks for participation in the post-season, it must interact with school leaders to make certain that these benchmarks are taken seriously and universites and colleges don’t pay just lip plan to learning being their first priority. The good news that even with the new tougher standards C half of the players around the team should be on track towards graduation to participate in the NCAA tournament C the compliance among participating teams expires this year.

Tom (McMillen) recently examined around 50 contracts for head coaches of college football and basketball, most of them culled from the USA TODAY Sports coaches\’ salary database. Most of what he found will surprise nobody: Salaries and rewards for big-time college coaches are astronomically high. In 2011, 32 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision coaches and 11 NCAA Division I men\’s basketball coaches earned a lot more than $2 million annually. The highest paid basketball coach that year, Rick Pitino, was paid $7.5 million by the University of Louisville – a bit more than $20,500 a day.

Many coaches C who are sometimes not only the best-paid employees within the university however in the whole state C have bonuses for athletic performance written to their contracts. Yet substantially fewer have similar kinds of financial incentives to make sure that their players are performing well academically and are likely to graduate. While contracts had academic performance clauses written into them, they paid out much less when hit than a typical performance benchmark. Typically, financial incentives related to academic performance were about $52,000. Athletic incentives were an average of $600,000 per coach.

We are not suggesting any regulatory scheme for capping or restricting coaches\’ compensation. Nor are we able to specify the balance between athletic and academic spending that, in other words the Goldilocks principle, is just right. What we can say is that this balance is plainly out-of-whack using the educational mission of many Division I universities.

Governing boards and college presidents can take steps to right that imbalance. They could adopt a model of \”best practices\” that includes greater parity in new contracts for coaches between academic and athletic bonuses and offers penalties for poor academic performance.

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