Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson has made a crusade of holding the feet of universities, the NCAA and athletic departments to the fire when it comes to the poor graduation rates of the African American players who put millions into the coffers of colleges with their participation in the NCAA Tournament.

He’s certainly got less to complain about this year.

The average graduation rate for black players on the 68 men’s teams in the tournament is a record 65 percent, Mr. Jackson wrote in his column Wednesday.

Via the Boston Globe:

It just could be that public pressure, embarrassment after scandals or NCAA rules that last year began banning teams with chronic poor graduation rates are finally having their effect. Schools I would have disqualified from the tournament two years ago for having black graduation rates under 50 percent that made my cut this year include: Colorado, Kansas State, Michigan, Florida and Virginia.

But before we say “Stop the presses!” it is a long way before we call off the full-court press on this issue. The top programs on the court still are disproportionately poor in the classroom. Of the 13 lowest graduation rates in the tournament for black men, 8 are ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll: Syracuse, Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio State, St. Louis, Iowa State, Connecticut and Wisconsin.

And while two-thirds of black male players overall are graduating, massive disparities still remain as white graduation rates have also shot up at record levels, to an average of 89 percent. Of the 68 teams, 39 have a white graduation rate of 100 percent, more than three times the 12 perfect teams for black players. Top credits go to Harvard, Duke, Villanova and Kansas. Those schools are at 100 percent for black and white players the second year in a row.

Read more at the Boston Globe.

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