KU links: KU men’s basketball team reaches title game in academic bracket; Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap advances in college food tourney
Your spring break edition of KU tidbits from around the Internet:
• The KU men's and women's basketball teams will hit the court in their NCAA Tournaments today and tomorrow, but the results are already in for the publication Inside Higher Ed's annual Academic Performance Tournament. So you can go ahead and distribute prizes for your office pools in that area.
The tournament is a fun little exercise that uses the same seeds and bracket as the basketball tournaments but advances teams based on their Academic Progress Rate—the NCAA's measure of academic performance for each team. A graduation-rate measure is used as a tiebreaker.
APR gives each athletic program at each school a score based on how many players stay in school and remain eligible to play. It doesn't penalize programs for athletes who leave early to play professionally, as long as they are in good academic standing when they leave.
The KU men's team has performed as well in the academic tourney in recent years as it has in, well, basketball. It won the whole thing last year, and this year it made the title game before running into the buzzsaw that is Belmont University (man, those "B" teams, huh?). Memphis and Butler also made the Final Four.
The men's team's APR is a perfect 1,000 for each of the past four years published by the NCAA here. The women's team's score is a bit lower — 982 in the most recent year published. As such, the team was knocked out in the first round by Colorado in Inside Higher Ed's corresponding women's tournament.
• Speaking of brackets: The KU Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap has moved on to the Sweet 16 of the Cooking Channel's college food tournament, where it faces some honey buns from Syracuse University. It defeated some Iowa State cherry pies in the first round, by a margin of 4,257 to 3,904. (The University of Missouri's entry lost in the first round.)
• We told you a few weeks back that Kim Wilcox, a former dean of liberal arts and sciences at KU, had managed to be named a finalist in two different state universities' search for a new leader (both of which go by the acronym UW, no less). But now each of the UWs has chosen someone else. The University of Wisconsin-Madison picked Rebecca Blank, the acting U.S. secretary of commerce, while the University of Wyoming went with Robert Sternberg, the provost at Oklahoma State University.
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The change isn't coming for three-plus more years, but KU's athletics department has already been preparing for some time for higher NCAA eligibility standards coming down the road, Inside Higher Ed reports today.
In August 2016, the NCAA will raise the academic standards that incoming students must meet to be eligible for athletics, and administrators at the NCAA's annual convention last week were urging departments to quickly start getting the word out to high schools and parents so students coming to school at that time can be ready.
Inside Higher Ed cited KU's athletics department as one that has been thinking about the change for a while now. Cooperating with Kansas State and Wichita State universities, KU athletics officials have developed brochures to distribute to counselors and parents. They've also met with high school and community college officials to inform them about the changes.
The story quotes Theresa Becker, associate athletics director for compliance, saying getting the word out has been a "challenge," but "you have to get your attitude in check about it."
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