Friday, March 01, 2002

Huggins defends grad rate on ESPN

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquire

        University of Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins defends his program's graduation rates tonight during a segment of ESPN's investigative series Outside the Lines, which this month is titled: “Zero Percent: College Basketball's Graduation Crisis.”

        The one-hour program will air at 8p.m. today and re-air Tuesday (3a.m.) and March 22 (1p.m.).

        Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, Texas Tech coach Bob Knight and Duke guard Jason Williams are among those interviewed.

        The segment on UC takes a look at whether the criteria used by the NCAA for calculating graduation rates is fair. The NCAA said its system is based on a formula created by the U.S. Department of Education, ESPN reporter Steve Delsohn said.

        “If a guy transfers into your school and graduates, he doesn't count,” said Delsohn, who worked on the Bearcats' portion of the program. “If a guy transfers out of your school and graduates, he doesn't count. If it's a junior-college transfer who graduates, he doesn't count. If he graduates in six years, he counts, but if he graduates in 6.5 years, he doesn't count.

        “We're looking at whether the criteria is questionable, and we used Cincinnati as a case study because they are frequently labeled with that zero graduation rate. What struck me is that when you walk into the basketball office, you see these pictures of 15 graduates — and yet how can that be if they supposedly have a zero graduation rate?”

        Huggins calls the NCAA's method for determining its statistics “terribly misleading.”


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