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COLLEGE BASKETBALL NOTES

Study Criticizes Schools Over Diversity, Graduation Rates

March 24, 2004|Elliott Teaford;Larry Stewart

Although successful on the court, the Sweet 16 schools in the NCAA men's tournament are failures when it comes to minority leadership in the athletic department and continue to record poor graduation rates, according to a study released Tuesday.

None of the 16 schools has an African American president or athletic director and only three have African American coaches, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport revealed in its study on diversity and graduation rates.

"It is disheartening that none of the 16 schools employ any person of color in the key decision-making positions of president or athletics director," said Richard Lapchick, director of the institute, based at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

"However, hiring practices in basketball clearly provide better opportunities for people of color than any other sport. People of color comprise no more than 5% of head coaches in any other Division I sport, and basketball has nearly one in four."

The study found that each of the 16 schools has at least one African American assistant coach and four have two.

The study also found only four of the schools had graduation rates of better than 50%.

Kansas had the highest graduation rate of the Sweet 16 schools at 73%. Duke and Xavier tied for second at 67%. Connecticut and Georgia Tech tied for the lowest rate at 27%. The rates for five schools could not be calculated because of new federal privacy guidelines that suppress data when there are too few athletes in the pool.

The NCAA said Monday it would collect and publish its own complete graduation rate data after the U.S. Department of Education's decision last year to suppress data when there were three or fewer athletes or graduates in a program.

-- Elliott Teaford

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There's no debate when it comes to Emeka Okafor and Jameer Nelson. They're unanimous All-Americans.

The stars at Connecticut and Saint Joseph's led the Associated Press men's college basketball All-America team, the first time since 1985 more than one player was chosen by every voter.

Okafor, a 6-foot-10 junior center, and Nelson, a 5-11 senior guard, earned a perfect 360 points by being picked on all 72 first-team ballots.

Lawrence Roberts of Mississippi State was third with 308 points, while Josh Childress of Stanford had 235 and Ryan Gomes of Providence completed the first team with 208.

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Nelson and Connecticut's Diana Taurasi were chosen the Naismith players of the year.

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Tom Penders was hired to coach at Houston, the once-powerful program that hasn't won an NCAA tournament game in 20 years.

Penders and the university agreed to a five-year contract, but terms weren't finalized, officials said.

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In second-round National Invitation Tournament men's games:

At Tallahassee, Fla., Jake Sullivan and Marcus Jefferson each hit two free throws in the final seconds to give Iowa State (19-13) a 62-59 victory over Florida State (19-14). Sullivan scored a game-high 19 points.

At Milwaukee, Travis Diener scored 15 points and Marquette (19-11) held Boise State (23-10) to a season low in scoring, beating the Broncos, 66-53.

At Eugene, Ore., Oregon (17-12) cruised to a 68-54 victory over George Mason (23-10). Andre Joseph had 22 points for Oregon.

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Ndeye Ndiaye scored 19 points to lead Southern Nazarene to its second consecutive National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics women's title with a 77-61 victory over Oklahoma City at Jackson, Tenn.

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Even though Nevada is the only team left in the NCAA tournament from the West, the Wolf Pack's game against Georgia Tech on Friday night at St. Louis will not be a featured game on CBS on the West Coast.

CBS announced Tuesday that the primary games shown on the West Coast on Friday, beginning at 4 p.m., will be Alabama Birmingham vs. Kansas, followed by Duke vs. Illinois. The other two games, Texas-Xavier and Georgia Tech-Nevada, will get secondary coverage.

The featured games Thursday night will Connecticut-Vanderbilt and Wake Forest-Saint Joseph's.

-- Larry Stewart

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