March Madness does not officially begin until first-round games tip off this afternoon, but already we have a winner.
In what has become an annual -- and predictable -- result, the teams in the women's NCAA tournament outscore the men's postseason teams when it comes to classroom performance.
The programs in the women's field graduate an average of 90% of their players compared with 70% for the men, according to a study released Tuesday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.
The women's bracket includes 25 teams that have graduated 100% of their players in recent years; the men only 11. Among the women, there is a gap of six percentage points between the rate for whites and the rate for African Americans. For the men, that difference is 25 percentage points.
"The women's teams always give us good news to report each year," said Richard Lapchick, the institute's director, adding: "Women's basketball student-athletes are truly representative of the balance that is needed to be a student-athlete in today's collegiate environment."
This year, three schools accomplished the rare double, with 100% graduation rates for men and women: Duke, Villanova and Notre Dame.
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