Terps among 4 state schools to show graduation decline Maryland men's rate fell from 38 to 15 percent

June 29, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

The University of Maryland men's basketball team was one of four Division I programs in the state with declining graduation rates, according to the most recent NCAA graduation rate report.

Maryland's graduation rate declined to 15 percent in the 1996 NCAA report, which covers freshmen who entered the men's basketball program between 1986 and 1989. That compares with 38 percent in the 1995 report, which includes freshmen entering between 1985 and 1988. The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore (from 20 percent to 17), UMBC (60 to 50) and Morgan State (50 to 41) also had declining rates for their men's basketball teams, the report said.

Coppin State had the most substantial improvement, going from 43 percent to 50, and Mount St. Mary's led the state at 92 percent, up from 86. The Naval Academy is not included in the NCAA reports because it does not grant athletic scholarships. Loyola was unchanged at 64 percent.

The overall Division I average for men's basketball programs actually increased from 38 to 40 percent, the report said. The NCAA gives student-athletes six years to graduate, but athletes who have transferred to other schools are counted against their original school's graduation rate.

Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said she is not concerned with the graduation rate of the men's basketball team.

"I could become concerned if there is a downward trend that developed," Yow said. "There's been no trend in that area, and I don't think there is going to be a trend."

The new NCAA report is based largely on players recruited by former Maryland basketball coach Bob Wade, not by the current coach, Gary Williams. Williams arrived at Maryland before the 1989-90 season.

None of the four players who entered Maryland during the 1989-90 season has graduated, the report said. Two of those players, Curley Young and Kevin Chamberlain, transferred, and the other two, Evers Burns and Kevin McLinton, played four years for Williams.

Of the eight players who have spent four years in Williams' program, one -- reserve guard Wayne Bristol -- has graduated, according to university records and interviews with players and their families.

Besides Bristol, Burns, McLinton and Kurtis Shultz, those eight players include Williams' four seniors this past season -- Exree Hipp, Mario Lucas, Johnny Rhodes and Duane Simpkins. The NCAA report said the average student at Maryland takes 4.8 years to graduate and the average student-athlete takes 4.9 years.

Yow, who arrived at Maryland in 1994, said she is pleased with Williams' last two recruiting classes.

"Gary has signed recruits who have done very well on their high school grade-point averages and on their [college entrance] test scores," Yow said. "Since they're so well prepared academically, I feel like he is moving in the right direction the last couple years."

Of the approximately 30 scholarship players who have played for Williams for at least one season, 10 have graduated from Maryland, according to university records, interviews with players and their families and other university sources.

Maryland's 15 percent graduation rate in the NCAA report is the second-worst in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia (92 percent), North Carolina (85), Wake Forest (69), Duke (58), Georgia Tech (50) and Clemson (50) all graduated players at a higher rate for freshmen entering between 1986 and 1989. Only N.C. State's 8 percent rate was worse than Maryland's.

Yow said she is concerned about how Maryland student-athletes are doing compared to the rest of the student body. The NCAA report said Maryland graduated 64 percent of its students and 61 percent of its athletes.

"Basketball, like the other sports, is expected to strive to have a rate that is comparable to that of the student body," Yow said.

The Maryland football team's graduation rate improved, going from 56 percent to 60 percent. The women's basketball team's percentage declined, going from 63 percent in the 1995 report to percent this year.

Yow said she is focusing on the future. Funding for the athletic department's Academic Support Unit has increased 30 percent over the past two years, she said. The improved support system and Williams' last two recruiting classes, Yow said, are reasons she is optimistic the graduation rate will go up.

"I concentrate on being prepared," Yow said. "We do need to be moving in the right direction."

Report cards on state's basketball programs

Graduation rates for state Division I men's basketball teams (Shows percentage of players graduating. The 1996 report covers freshmen enrolling between 1986 and 1989, while the 1995 report covers freshmen enrolling between 1985 and 1988):

School .. .. .. .. .. .. ..1996 NCAA .. .. 1995 NCAA

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..report .. .. . ..report

Mount St. Mary's .. .. .. .. ..92 .. .. .. .. .. .86

Towson State .. .. .. .. .. ...67 .. .. .. .. .. .64

Loyola .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...64 .. .. .. .. .. .64

Coppin State .. .. .. .. .. ...50 .. .. .. .. .. .43

UMBC .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..50 .. .. .. .. .. .60

Morgan State .. .. .. .. .. ...41 .. .. .. .. .. .50

UMES .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..17 .. .. .. .. .. 20

Maryland .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .15 .. .. .. .. .. .38

Pub Date: 6/29/96

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