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2021-22 Adjusted Graduation Gap Report: NCAA Division 1 Basketball

Men’s Division I Basketball average AGG is -24.9

Women’s Division I Basketball average AGG is -17.0


Columbia, SC – February 10, 2022 ... The College Sport Research Institute (CSRI) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, released its twelfth-annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men’s and women’s basketball Adjusted Graduation Gap (AGG) report today. For the twelfth consecutive year, athlete graduation rates continue to be significantly below adjusted full-time student body graduation rates. The DI men’s basketball overall AGG is -24.9, indicating that the average rate among DI conferences is 24.9 percentage points below the adjusted men’s full-time student body rate. Similarly, the woman’s overall AGG of -17.0 indicates a 17.0 percentage point deficiency relative to the women’s full-time student body rate. Among the 31 DI basketball conferences, all men’s AGGs are negative.

Concurrently, only one DI women’s basketball conference has a positive AGG (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference [MEAC]). Additionally, Major conferences continue to perform significantly worse than Mid-Major conferences (See Tables 1 and 2).

The AGG trends (See Charts 5 & 6.) continue to be especially troubling for Black men’s basketball players in Major conferences. The gap between Black (-36.9) and White (-25.1) men’s basketball players in Major conferences has grown by 4.3 percentage points in the past year. Conversely, the gap between Black (-20.5) and White (-20.1) men’s basketball players in MidMajor conferences decreased for the eighth consecutive year. While the overall DI women’s basketball AGG grew by 1.9 percentage points, the gap between Black (-17.0) and White (-16.5) DI women’s basketball players decreased for the second consecutive year (See Charts 3 and 4).

Among all DI conferences, the MEAC continues to be the best performer in both men’s (-2.6) and women’s basketball (+1.7). The MEAC is comprised of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Among DI men’s basketball Major conferences, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) experienced the largest year-to-year change in AGG, growing by 6.9 percentage points. For the first time in the twelve-year history of AGG, the SEC (-44.0) is now the worst performing conference in all of DI men’s basketball. In DI women’s basketball, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) AGG grew for the fourth consecutive year. For the first time in the twelve-year history of AGG, the ACC (-31.0) is now the worst performing conference in all of DI women’s basketball.

It is worth noting the possible impact of both the global pandemic and transfer portal on graduation rates. The current 4-class cohort includes the post-pandemic 2020-2021 graduating class that may have been significantly impacted by pandemic disruptions within higher education and collegiate athletics. Additionally, the transfer portal has contributed to an influx of athletes seeking to transfer since Fall 2018. The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) retains transfers as part of a school’s cohort and FGR is a variable in calculating AGG.

While the gap between DI men’s and women’s basketball players graduation rates and those of full-time male and female students has been consistently large in the twelve-year history of the AGG, more research is needed to determine the effects of the transfer portal and pandemic disruptions on DI men’s and women’s basketball AGG.

Study Highlights

(See tables and charts in appendix for additional information.)

DI Women’s Basketball AGG Summary
  • The overall DI women’s basketball AGG is sizable at -17.0 percentage points.
  • DI women’s basketball AGG is 7.9 points better than DI men’s basketball AGG (-17.0 and -24.9, respectfully).
  • The DI women’s basketball Major conferences AGG of -22.4 percentage points is 7.9 points worse than the Mid-Major AGG of -14.5 points.
  • DI women’s basketball Black players’ AGG of -17.0 is only slightly worse than the White players’ AGG (-16.5), in sharp contrast to DI men’s basketball where Black AGGs are much worse.
  • Among DI women’s basketball Major conferences, the best performers are the Big East (-16.2) and Pacific-12 (-16.8).
  • Among all DI women’s basketball conferences, the best performers are the MEAC (+1.7) and the Patriot League (-4.5).
  • Among all DI conferences, the worst performers are the ACC (-31.0) and the American (-29.4).
  • Only one of the 31 DI women’s basketball conferences has a positive AGG (MEAC [+1.7]).
DI Women’s Basketball AGG Trends
  • The DI women’s basketball AGGs continue to show negative trends, similar to DI men’s basketball (i.e., the gaps between athletes and the full-time student body are steadily getting worse).
  • AGG results contrast sharply with the NCAA's narrative of steadily increasing athlete graduation rates.
DI Men’s Basketball AGG Summary
  • The overall DI men’s basketball AGG remains large at -24.9 percentage points (i.e., the men’s basketball graduation rate is 24.9 points below the adjusted general male student body rate).
  • The DI men’s basketball Major conferences AGG of -35.0 percentage points is much larger than the Mid-Major conferences AGG of -20.0 points.1
  • The DI men’s basketball Major conference Black AGG of -36.9 percentage points is 11.8 points worse than the White AGG of -25.1. In contrast, the Mid-Major Black-White gap is only 0.4 points.
  • Among DI men’s basketball Major conferences, the best performers are the Atlantic 10 (-20.6) and the Big Ten (-31.7).
  • Among all DI men’s basketball conferences, the best performers are the MEAC (-2.6) and the Patriot League (-2.8). v None of the 31 DI men’s basketball conferences have a positive AGG. Among all DI men’s basketball conferences, the worst performers are the SEC (-44.0) and Big West (-41.3).
  • For the Power-5 conferences, the average men's basketball AGG of -37.1 is almost twice the football AGG of -19.1, a difference of 18.0 percentage points.2

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1
Major and Mid-Major designations follow those on collegeinsider.com
2 See the 2021-22 Adjusted Graduation Gap Report: NCAA FBS Football

DI Men’s Basketball AGG Trends
  • DI men’s basketball AGGs continue to show a gradual but statistically significant negative trend over the twelve-years of the AGG Report (i.e., the gaps between DI men’s basketball and the full-time student body graduation rates are steadily getting worse).
  • AGG results contrast sharply with the NCAA's narrative of steadily increasing athlete graduation rates.

CSRI Position on Graduation Rates

In 1990, Congress mandated full disclosure of graduation rates at schools that award athletically related aid and receive federal financial aid. The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) reflects the percentage of students (athletes and non-athletes) who graduate within six years from the school where they initially enrolled as a full-time student. The FGR measures the extent to which colleges and universities retain and graduate recruited athletes, thus providing one measure of whether they are fulfilling the NCAA’s mission of maintaining athletes as an integral part of their student body. The strength of the FGR is its focus on student retention.

Another useful graduation rate measure, created by the NCAA to track athletes, is called the Graduation Success Rate (GSR). The GSR excludes from its calculation athletes—including transfers—who leave a particular school prior to graduating (i.e., early), while in good academic standing. The NCAA methodology also includes athletes who transfer into an institution in a program’s GSR. The GSR recognizes college athletes may take a different path to graduation than other full-time students. However, a limitation of the GSR is that currently no comparable graduation rate exists for the general student body. In other words, the GSR and FGR measures are not comparable.

The NCAA created the GSR to correct the FGR’s tendency to underestimate graduation rates by treating all college transfers as non-graduate dropouts. Unfortunately, the GSR correction causes it to overestimate athlete graduation rates. In effect, it treats all athletes meeting minimal eligibility requirements who leave college before graduation as transfers who graduate, ignoring that many departing athletes drop out and never graduate.

The AGG was developed to partly address FGR and GSR limitations. The AGG compares an adjusted FGR for full-time students and the reported FGR for college athletes. Reports for each sport are released at various times during the year.

CSRI believes in the full disclosure of all measures pertaining to college athlete graduation, including the FGR, GSR, and AGG since one measure is not “better” or somehow “fairer” than the others as each measure different things. The FGR focuses on an institution’s ability to retain and graduate students it admits, while the GSR attempts to account for athletes who leave a school that initially admitted them.

Historically, standard evaluations of NCAA athlete graduation rates have involved comparisons with general student body rates presumed to pertain to full-time students. However, many schools’ general student body rates include a significant number of part- time students. This is problematic because all NCAA athletes must be “full-time” and should therefore be compared with other full-time students. The downward “part-timer bias” in the student-body FGR distorts this comparison. Because part-time students take longer to graduate, this significantly reduces the measured general student-body FGR, making the relative rate of college athletes at many schools and conferences appear more favorable. CSRI’s Adjusted Graduation Gap methodology addresses this “part-timer bias” using regression-based adjustments for the percentage of parttime students enrolled at an institution.3 The adjustments also account for the aggregate influence of school-specific factors such as location and student demographics. These estimates then become the basis for the AGG comparison. 

Appendix


Table 1: 2022 NCAA DI Major and Mid-Major (MM) Summary

Women: Major vs. Mid-major
  Overall
Mean
Black
Mean
White
Mean
All DI -17.0 -17.0 -16.5
Major
MM
-22.4
-14.5
-22.9
-14.2
-21.3
-13.9
Major - MM = -7.9 -8.7 -7.4
Women: Black vs. White
  Overall
Mean
Major
Mean
MM
Mean
Black AGG Mean
White AGG Mean
-17.0
-16.5
-22.9
-21.3
-14.2
-13.9
Black - White = -0.5 -1.6 -0.3
Men: Major vs. Mid-major
  Overall
Mean
Black
Mean
White
Mean
All D1 -24.9 -25.8 -21.8
Major
MM
-35.0
-20.0
-36.9
-20.5
-25.1
-20.1
Major - MM = -15.0 -16.4 -5.0
Men: Black vs. White
  Overall
Mean
Major
Mean
MM
Mean
Black AGG Mean
White AGG Mean
-25.8
-21.8
-36.9
-25.1
-20.5
-20.1
Black - White = -4.0 -11.8 -0.4

Table 2: 2022 NCAA DI Conference Average AGGs

Women’s DI Conferences
  Overall
Mean
Black
Mean
White
Mean
MAJOR
Big East -16.2 -16.0 -22.5
Pac-12 -16.8 -23.1 -12.1
Big 12 -18.0 -14.0 -24.4
Atlantic 10 -20.1 -22.6 -8.4
Southeastern -20.8 -23.4 -21.5
Big 10 -23.8 -30.3 -26.8
Conference USA -23.8 -21.2 -12.8
Mountain West -24.5 -19.6 -26.4
American Athletic -29.4 -24.7 -43.2
Atlantic Coast -31.0 -34.3 -14.9
MAJOR AVERAGE -22.4 -22.9 -21.3
MID-MAJOR
Mid-Eastern +1.7 +9.2 N/A
Patriot League -4.5 -2.3 +0.2
Metro Atlantic -6.1 -6.2 -7.3
West Coast -6.4 +1.1 -2.3
Southwestern -9.1 -0.4 N/A
Northeast -10.4 -4.1 -5.0
Big South -11.0 -2.8 -15.3
Southern -11.5 -10.2 -15.9
Mid-American -12.1 -13.1 -16.0
Horizon League -15.0 -15.3 -11.0
Atlantic Sun -16.4 -14.7 -17.1
Southland -16.9 -15.7 -19.1
Missouri Valley -17.8 -29.8 -11.5
Western Athletic -18.2 -24.7 -0.8
Colonial -19.3 -13.7 -8.6
Summit League -19.4 -35.7 -16.9
America East -20.8 -16.6 -19.2
Big Sky -21.6 -37.1 -24.5
Sun Belt -22.2 -17.9 -16.6
Big West -22.4 -26.4 -28.5
Ohio Valley -24.4 -22.5 -29.4
MID-MAJOR AVERAGE -14.5 -14.2 -13.9
DIVISION I AVERAGE -17.0 -17.0 -16.5
Men's D1 Conferences
  Overall
Mean
Black
Mean
White
AGG
MAJOR
Atlantic 10 -20.6 -14.2 -31.6
Big 10 -31.7 -37.0 -26.9
Big East -32.2 -34.0 -5.3
Big 12 -34.3 -36.2 -34.1
Pac-12 -35.1 -41.0 -4.0
Conference USA -35.2 -41.4 -29.6
Mountain West -37.1 -42.1 -30.9
American Athletic -39.6 -33.4 -31.0
Atlantic Coast -40.6 -43.1 -43.2
Southeastern -44.0 -46.4 -14.3
MAJOR AVERAGE -35.0 -36.9 -25.1
MID-MAJOR
Mid-Eastern -2.6 -7.2 N/A
Patriot League -2.8 -9.0 +4.6
Southwestern -8.7 -6.7 N/A
Big South -10.7 -6.1 -11.5
Western Athletic -14.8 -21.1 -11.8
Southland -15.1 -15.5 -31.9
Colonial Athletic -15.3 -18.3 -2.0
Missouri Valley -15.6 -16.7 -13.8
Southern -16.3 -7.2 -19.3
Northeast -18.9 -18.4 -30.7
Horizon League -21.0 -20.9 -13.3
Atlantic Sun -21.1 -21.1 -20.4
West Coast -22.5 -37.3 -18.1
Mid-American -23.1 -14.9 -14.0
Big Sky -23.6 -25.6 -18.0
Metro Atlantic -26.0 -16.6 -11.7
America East -26.8 -25.3 -25.2
Sun Belt -27.5 -27.3 -22.6
Summit League -32.5 -42.1 -30.1
Ohio Valley -33.9 -32.1 -55.1
Big West -41.3 -40.5 -37.0
MID-MAJOR AVERAGE -20.0 -20.5 -20.1
DIVISION I AVERAGE -24.9 -25.8 -21.8

Chart 1: AGG Trends — DI Women's Basketball

AGG Trends: DI Women's Basketball — This three-line chart shows the downward trends for DI AGG, Major_AGG and Mid-major AGG

Chart 2: AGG Trends — AGG Trends: DI Men’s Basketball

AGG Trends: DI Men’s Basketball — This chart shows the general downward trend for men's DI_AGG, Major_AGG, and Mid-major_AGG. This chart does not show as drmatic a drop as the DI Women's Basketball Chart

 

Chart 3: AGG Trends — Women’s Basketball Major Black AGG vs. White AGG

AGG Trends: Women’s Basketball Major Black AGG vs. White AGG — This chart compares the downward trend of Black_AGG vs White_AGG. While the Black_AGG started in 2014 with a better graduation rate than the White_AGG, it has declined precipitously to 2021. While the White_AGG trend started at a lower graduation rate, it also declined rapidly, but then rallied briefly in 2019 before dropping again.

Chart 4: AGG Trends — Women’s Basketball Mid-Major Black AGG vs. White AGG

AGG Trends: Women’s Basketball Mid-Major Black AGG vs. White AGG. While the trend for White athletes AGG rates started better than Black athletes, by 2021 each had fallen to about -14.0

Chart 5 – AGG Trends: Men’s Basketball Major Black AGG vs. White AGGChart 5 – AGG Trends: Men’s Basketball Major Black AGG vs. White AGG: White athletes started at about -21.0, dropped down to about -28.0, then rose to -25.0, while Black athletes started at -35.0, rose to about -34.5, then fell again to approximately -37.5.
Chart 6 – AGG Trends: Men’s Basketball Mid-Major Black AGG vs. White AGG

Chart 6 – AGG Trends: Men’s Basketball Mid-Major Black AGG vs. White AGG. Again, White atletes had an AGG rate about approximately -11.0, the dropped to -27.5, bouced back to -14 in 2016, leveled off for a bit, then dropped between 2020 and 2021 to -20.0. Black athletes AGG started around -23.0, rose slightly to -20.0 in 2016, then dropped again in 2016 after which there was a stready rise to -17.0 in 2020 before plummeting to -19.0 in 2021.


CSRI Research Team

  • Dr. Chris Corr, CSRI research associate; assistant professor, School of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management, Troy University
  • Dr. E. Woodrow Eckard, CSRI research associate; professor of economics emeritus, Business School, University of Colorado – Denver
  • Dr. Richard M. Southall, CSRI director; professor, Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, University of South Carolina
  • Dr. Mark S. Nagel, CSRI associate director; professor, Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, University of South Carolina.

Media Contacts

  • Richard M. Southall, Ed.D., Director
    College Sport Research Institute
    University of South Carolina
    (901) 240-7197 (cell)
    southall@hrsm.sc.edu
  • Mark S. Nagel, Ed.D., Associate Director
    College Sport Research Institute
    University of South Carolina
    (770) 891-9714 (cell)
    nagel@sc.edu
  • Allen Wallace, Communications Manager
    College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
    University of South Carolina
    (803) 777-5667 (office)
    awallace@sc.edu

Twitter: @csrisouthall; @csriconference

Phone: 803-777-0658 / 803-777-5550

Email: csri@mailbox.sc.edu


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