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NCAA Urged To Change Tourney Qualifications

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MIAMI (CBS4) – While the action on the court at the NCAA Tournament has been thrilling so far, it may be quite a different story in years to come.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has thrown his weight behind a Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics call to change the eligibility requirements and revenue distribution system for NCAA basketball postseason play.

The Knight Commission released an analysis Thursday that found 10 of the 68 teams that qualified for this year’s tournament failed to meet the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate goal of being on track to graduate at least 50 percent of their players.

Further, the Knight Commission found that of the $409 million the NCAA awarded for basketball success in the past five tournaments, nearly $179 million, or 44 percent of the total, was earned by teams not on track to graduate at least 50 percent of their players.

Duncan and the commission believe only teams that meet the threshold of graduating 50 percent of their players should qualify for the tournament.

Duncan and the commission’s position is supported by the NAACP and the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics.

“Young men need to be prepared for victory in life, not just victory on the court,” said Ben Jealous of the NAACP.

Duncan said that dozens of NCAA coaches have asked the Department of Education to create change on the grad rates of tournament teams.

He also said that “one & done’s” and transfers don’t count toward the graduation rate. Instead he said that’s the quick excuse from coaches and universities.

“I promise you these programs would dramatically improve their grad rates,” Secretary Duncan said.

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