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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Seeding Teams By Academic Progress

USA Today's Steve Weisberg did just that in the men's bracket for the NCAA Tournament.

It's interesting reading, and, yes, if you're an Ivy League fan you'll note that your beloved Penn Quakers didn't rank the top seed in the tournament or even a #1 seed. The top honor belongs to the North Carolina Tar Heels. The mighty Quakers did warrant a #2 seed, which is excellent overall but somewhat questionable if your an Ivy. Which, of course, should have all Penn fans wondering what the criteria are for this particular rating system.

Penn, like all schools, does have players who leave the team and an occasional player who leaves school. If this rating system includes transfers out as an element, then the Ivies might not get the grades they want. The reason: the Ivies don't give athletic scholarships, which means they can bring in 5-6 recruits a year. Last time I checked, most varsity rosters have only 15 kids on them, and some have fewer. That means that many of these recruits don't stick, and, depending on how important playing college hoops somewhere is to them (as opposed to, say, getting the Ivy degree), they might well bolt. It does happen.

Anyway, read the whole thing and see what you think. It's interesting to see who's at the top. . . and who's at the bottom.

And that opens up the debate as to who really are the best coaches out there -- those who get the wins, those who graduate their players (in meaningful majors, mind you), or those who do a reasonable semblance of both.


Blogger Andy said...

Maybe this isn't the best place to ask this, but why doesn't Princeton out-recruit every Ivy League team (including Penn) every year? They may not have athletic scholarships, but that appears to be countered by the fact that nearly every Princeton student is on scholarhip (grant, actually), as seen from the following taken from Princeton's website:

In 1998, Princeton began enacting significant changes in its financial aid policies to make the University more affordable for all undergraduate students.

The centerpiece of this reform was to eliminate the need for the student loan that usually is included in a student's aid package. The loan amount (typically in the $4,000 to $6,000 range) is replaced with an additional grant.

This seems like a significant competitive advantage that should allow Princeton to win the Ivy every year, as they can offer students the prospect of and Ivy League education without Ivy League prices. The only stumbling block I can come up with is that perhaps it is easier for Penn to get prospective athletes into the school. Can you comment on this?

11:04 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

By the way, you can find the APR reports for all schools here. Information about how they are calculated by searching the NCAA website for APR.

11:22 AM  
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