Archive for Friday, November 30, 2007

KU’s ranking not adding up in academics

November 30, 2007


Talib named All-American

This morning the American Football Coaches' Association named junior cornerback Aqib Talib a first-team All-American. Enlarge video

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It's a good thing for some schools that the Bowl Championship Series, or BCS, rankings are computed based on athletic performance and not academics.

While Kansas University is ranked No. 5 in the BCS standings, its theoretical "academic BCS" puts KU at No. 17.

The academic rankings are based on a formula that relates team graduation rates to the university's graduation rates, with allowances for disparity among races. That total is added to the difference between the NCAA-computed Academic Progress Rate and the average APR for all Division 1A football teams.

The formula was created by the New America Foundation, the group that seeds the 65-team March Madness bracket based on team academics. This is its first football ranking.

KU's numbers add up to about 34 points, better than Big 12 school Texas and about the same as rival Missouri. Texas picked up 7.85 points, and Missouri had 34.25 points.

The poll was led by Boston College with 127.8 points, Cincinnati with 97.25 points and Auburn with 73.15 points.

KU came up short primarily in that its 2005-06 APR was 16 points below the national average. In the most recent year, KU's APR moved up dramatically; however, the APR is based on a multiyear average.

In its analysis, Lindsey Luebchow of the foundation wrote that for some schools, including Missouri, a racial disparity was a major factor in weighing down the school's point total.

"Its overall football graduation rate masks a large black-white gap: 40 percent of Missouri's black football players : graduated, compared to 68 percent of its white football players," Luebchow wrote.

Kansas was cited in the report, but merely to illustrate a broader point and not because its data was particularly high or low in any area.

The foundation pointed out that a team full of Todd Reesings - an economics and finance major - is hard to compare with a team made up entirely of general studies majors.

KU Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony said he was pleased with the direction the football team's academics were taking.

He pointed out the team's rising APR as well as the fact that two Jayhawks, Russell Brorsen and John Larson, were named among ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-Americans on Thursday.

"I think it shows the emphasis in the program and of the coaches on academics," he said.


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