Every year the NCAA releases the APR, or Academic Progress Rating report, which examines the graduation rates of the student athletes at Universities across the country. While the report includes all sports, most people only focus on basketball and football, the two sports that usually have the hardest time graduating players.
Per usual, Maryland scored on the low side with a 913 in men's basketball (out of 1000) while George Mason proved to be the most educated team in the area with an incredible score of 995, according to George Mason Basketball blog. Maryland's score is always lower than it should be, which you might think reflects poorly on the University itself. After the jump, I'll explain why that generalization is unfair.
I went to University of Maryland, and I always get so bummed out whenever they release these reports because they are extremely misleading. I know people will take these scores and say, "Look how poorly Maryland graduates its basketball players, that must not be a very good school," as if the basketball team's education is at all emblematic of the rest of the student body's experience.
The truth is, Maryland basketball is still recovering from a few very bad years. The team that was built around Nik-Caner Medley (remember him?) was one of the worst collections of students in academic history. Half of those guys were kicked off the team in the middle of their career, while those who stayed all four years often dropped out of school right after the season to prepare for the NBA draft. In three quick years, Maryland suddenly had a graduation problem.
The problem with statistics is that you can interpret them to mean almost anything. So when people look at these numbers, they assume Maryland isn't a very good school. Nothing frustrates me more. You can't judge the merits of an entire university's education system based on the poor decisions by a slect handful of its students. The sample size is too small. Unfortunately, the basketball team is the most identifiable part of the Univeristy so many will choose to interpret it that way.
On the plus side, our Maryland blog Testudo Times, expects the report to be more positive in the coming years:
The Terps have recently been on the low end of the scales, despite (or because of) their more stringent standards, stemming from the Len Bias tragedy and its aftermath. Chris McCray didn't help matters (actually, that entire class was a bust). There is good news, though: McCray and his class come off the board next year, and this year's graduating class - Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, Jerome Burney, and Landon Milbourne - stays on. Good things on the horizon.
Hopefully in a few years, when the data is no longer skewed by a couple seasons that were admittedly really, really bad, the numbers will go up and this will no longer be an issue.