In the most basic terms, 54 percent of students who entered Kansas University in the fall of 1983 or 1984 graduated within six years. For student-athletes that figure was 50 percent.
The most basic terms aren't good enough for the NCAA and the United States Dept. of Education, so the two-page report the NCAA soon will release on all 293 Div. I schools is loaded with information.
The annual study breaks down graduation rates by race, by sex and by sport. Also included is admissions data for the class entering as freshmen in the fall of 1990.
The KU athletic department athletic director Bob Frederick, basketball coach Roy Williams and Paul Buskirk, assistant AD for student services were on hand released its two pages on Wednesday.
"An easy answer for me would be to say that coach Williams and coach (Glen) Mason and Paul Buskirk and myself weren't here in 1983 and '84, but that is not satisfactory," Frederick said.
FREDERICK OBVIOUSLY did not think the 50.3 percent of the "freshman cohort" group was high enough. Likewise, the 63.9 percent of students in the "refined" category didn't meet his standards.
"We've talked in staff meetings about setting 75 percent as a goal for all student-athletes," Frederick said.
The cohort group refers to all freshman student-athletes who entered the university on scholarship in the fall of 1983 and 1984. The refined group adds transfers and subtracts those who leave or return to school in good academic standing.
Frederick didn't lean on the easy answer, but the fact remains that Monte Johnson was AD, Larry Brown basketball coach and Mike Gottfried football coach when the classes who entered in 1983 and 1984 were recruited.
"The degree of difficulty of the university, whatever it may be, is always going to be the same," Frederick said. "The variable is the coach in charge of the sport."
WILLIAMS AND Mason are bullish on books. Of the 95 student-athletes Mason has brought to campus since 1988, 81 have either earned or are still pursuing a degree through KU. Williams is 14 for 16 in four years.
Also, KU's athletic department has more than doubled the amount it spends on academic support for its charges. In 1988-89 it spent $187,977. Last year that amount was $395,703.
Williams stated emphatically that expenditure had nothing to do with the changes in NCAA and federal legislation that now require the release of graduation rates.
"The night I interviewed I said, `You can tell me I can't have new uniforms or I can't take a plane, but don't tell me I can't afford to hire tutors for my players,'" Williams said. "The amount of money we spend on student support services has nothing to do with this report.
"If you ask one of my players grab one in the hall `Do you think coach Williams emphisizes academics or basketball more?' and I think they'll say academics. Failure to make a free throw is not nearly as bad as failure to make a class."