Stan Van Gundy on D1 basketball

Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy told the Orlando Sentinel that if he were to fall out of the NBA coaching ranks, he’d rather coach at a small college than at the major D1 level:

“As far as what it’s all about at the Division 1 level and what it’s all about here, it’s all the same thing. It’s all about winning and losing, putting people in the seats and money,” the Magic coach told the Sentinel after Wednesday’s shootaround.

“I mean, those people throw out that they are really into academics and all that … There may be four or five schools that’s true of.

“I don’t know of coaches getting fired winning 20-25 games a year and kids aren’t graduating. I don’t know people who are keeping their jobs that aren’t winning and are graduating. It’s about the same stuff.

“Here, [in the NBA], it’s just more honest. We all know what it’s all about. You don’t have to pay lip service to things. This is the best basketball in the world.”

He makes a good point, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants to do something about it.

Duncan suggests that schools that cannot graduate at least 40 percent of their student-athletes be banned from postseason play. If the rule was applied to this year’s tournament, 12 of the 65 teams would be locked out of the tournament. Three of them are No. 6 seeds or better—the University of Tennessee, the University of Maryland, and the University of Kentucky. “If you can’t manage to graduate two out of five players, how serious are the institutions and the colleges about the players’ academic success?” Duncan asks. “How are they preparing student-athletes for life?”

The data is from 1999-2003, and it seems a little unfair to focus on players that played seven to 11 years ago. Also, programs that send a lot of players to the NBA shouldn’t be penalized because their players are good enough to make millions playing professional ball. If this rule were implemented, it should focus only on players that stayed in college for four years.

For years, The Bootleg has studied graduation rates for football, basketball and baseball. The data is more recent, from 2004-2007. I’m not at all surprised to see my former coach, Bo Ryan, and the Wisconsin program near the top of the Big Ten (78%). He tends to recruit smart players who will likely stay in school for four years. Duke is second in the ACC at 92%, while North Carolina is at 75%. Maryland brings up the rear at a measly 8%. That’s just pathetic.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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