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Tears Of Unfathomable Sadness, Volume 10

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How is this not a bigger deal?

Jared Wickerham

This week, I had a few different things lined up.

I was going to have a little segment where we laugh at ourselves about how someone in the athletic department screwed up the laundry and washed whites with colors, and that's why the hockey team wore the golds and the maroons against Colorado College and UMass this weekend.

I was going to talk about how the name on Teddy Doherty's jersey was spelled "Doherthy."

I was going to talk about how Florida State doesn't really worry about how to spell, either.

Even Pitt was going to join in the fun:

Instead, the NCAA published the most recent Graduation Success Rates today, and I found myself wondering how I could not write an entire article about how much of an embarrassment the UConn basketball program is.

I was born, raised, and currently live in Connecticut. You grow up being force fed this UConn-Hoops-Is-Super-Aw3som3z nonsense from the time you're able to understand what's on TV. Eventually I got sick of it, and by the time I went to BC, I had fully exorcised any UConn fondness from my soul.

It is incredible -- really, incredible -- how blindly UConn fans support the basketball program despite how much of an embarrassment it is academically. UConn had a Graduation Success Rate of 17% in men's basketball this year. Somehow, that's a substantial improvement on the last couple years where they posted a 10% (!) and an 8% (!!). The D1 average is 70%.

17%. For reference, that's the 3rd worst of every single Division I basketball program in America, ahead of only hoops powerhouses New Mexico State and Grambling State.

I would tell you where UConn ranked among major conference programs, but UConn would have to be in a major conference.

I traveled over to The Boneyard last night wondering what the Husky fans had to say about it and didn't find a single thread. Maybe there's one by now, it's possible, but there was nary a post talking about how their National Championship men's basketball team is a total fraud. I guess in Storrs, as long as you're winning, it doesn't really matter how. That is, until the NCAA forces you to sit out because you care so little about actually educating your student athletes.

I did find a thread from last season, though, when UConn hit single digits with an 8% GSR. In it, you'll find such quotes as:

How many guys who entered UConn in those years are earning less than six figures playing pro basketball?

and

Our numbers are much lower than average due to us having players leave for the NBA.

and my personal favorite,

Folks, learn what GSR is. It has nothing to do with leaving early. Everyone who leaves early for the pros is exempt. Out of the calculation. Everyone who transfers out is exempt.

GSR, like APR, is a cocked up measure that tells us next to nothing. The only thing it measures is whether a player stayed at Uconn for 4 years and somehow managed to not graduate.

Thinks about a school like Kentucky. it's theoretically possible for them to have a 100% GSR, with only a 7% graduation rate. If 12 players are exempt because they leave for the pros, and only 1 graduates, their GSR is 100%.

Yeah, Skippy, you might want to take your own advice and "learn what GSR is."

From the USA Today article back when GSR was implemented by the NCAA:

The NCAA rates take incoming transfers into account. And they don't count outgoing transfers — or players who leave school for any other reason, including entry in a professional draft — against the school if they left in good academic standing.

So, no, if your player leaves for the pros in good academic standing, it doesn't hurt your numbers. If your players are too dumb to go to class to stay academically eligible, then yes, they hurt your numbers. Also, it's players who have graduated in six years, not four.

But okay, let's get rid of the hypotheticals and talk about that Kentucky team for a second. Kentucky has as many one-and-dones as just about anybody. Surely they must have a low GSR?

/checks

Nope, try 89%. And that Federal Graduation Rate? 40%. Not quite the midpoint of Division I programs, but not UConn's SIX PERCENT (!!!??) either. So before you start crying "woe is us" over the clearly unfair NCAA calculations for such an esteemed basketball program as yourselves with the burden of keeping NBA-bound players academically eligible, why not try to shoot for being more academically responsible than goddamn Kentucky first?

I leave you with a mini-rant courtesy of Joe, in which he makes possibly the most damning point of all:

That's terrible. This is a scandal. If I were a Connecticut taxpayer -- let alone somebody who actually donates to the university -- I'd be asking some serious questions.

A school like UConn has the resources to nurture its kids through the system. At least New Mexico State and Grambling have excuses given their size and their resources.

UConn is rolling in money. Money that comes from basketball. You would think they could put some of that money into academic support for basketball players.

That's really incredible. We rag on UConn but it's a flagship, nationally ranked university. It's not, like, Northern Hartford Community College. A GSR that bad takes a profound and thoughtful lack of effort into doing anything to support the student athletes. You have to go out of your way to be this bad.

UConn Huskies. The pride of Connecticut.