Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thoughtful Analysis

If any of you have listened to Dave Glenn of the ACC sports Journal, you know the guy is well spoken, knowledgeable and factual about what goes on in the ACC. On his blog he posted this about the Duke football program.

I posted the following question on his blog and got the following response:


I hear so much about "academic standards" at the various schools. I'm a Georgia Tech guy, and my understanding is that the GT standards are higher than NCAA (core requirements, match, GPA, test scores, etc). However, it's hard to get a gauge on the actual requirements because of sliding scales and exceptions.

Have you published anything that tries to document the ACTUAL entrance requirements for each ACC school, as it pertains to athletes?

Do you have information that shows that the Duke basketball program has always met the "high" Duke entrance requirements?

I'm not throwing stones. Just trying to understand what the various ACC schools really set as their baselines.

2) Duke football does NOT get the same breaks as Duke basketball, at least not to the same degree. Both programs attract some outstanding students, but the hoops team gets a much higher PERCENTAGE of students who don't fit the typical Duke academic profile. The last time I asked Joe Alleva about this, he said both programs "get a few exceptions from time to time." Of course, giving the BB team 1-2 exceptions per year and giving the FB team 1-2 exceptions per year -- just as an example -- would be inherently UNEQUAL, because BB has only 13 scholarship players and FB has 85. If BB gets 1-2 a year, then FB should get 5-10 a year, if you really want to do things equally.

(3) The ACC- or nation-wide academic question is hard to answer specificially, for several reasons.

First, a single school's philosophy can and does change as presidents, athletic directors and coaches change. At GT, for example, George O'Leary got more leeway than Chan Gailey is getting right now. That's based on our study of the academic credentials of incoming football signees in the ACC Sports Journal. Second, the academic makeup of a single school's classes even changes slightly from year to year. Third, not every player provides his academic info to us, although we tend to get at least 90 percent of them, so we can't provide specific "full-class" numbers.

That said, four ACC schools clearly recruit -- on average -- a higher caliber student-athlete than the others in the conference. They are Duke, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. What makes Duke different? Well, for one thing, the Blue Devils are the only team in the ACC that can't accept ANY football players at the NCAA minimum requirements (e.g. 2.5 core GPA, 820 SAT score). EVERY other ACC school, and almost everyone in the nation, can and does admit FB players at that level. At some schools, MOST of the players are at or near that bottom level.

The bottom line: Duke gets even less academic flexibility than BC, GT and Wake, which have very strong standards themselves.

This stuff does get complicated. For example, just because 11 ACC schools will take "some" players at the bare NCAA minimum level, that does NOT mean they have the same academic philosophy. What if School A says you can have 15 players at that level every year, and School B says you can have only 10, and School C says you can have only 1-2? All three schools have the same "floor," but some may be required to sign more outstanding students than the others, and some may be permitted to enroll a much larger number of the "lesser" student-athletes. ALL COACHES AND EX-COACHES WILL TELL YOU THAT THESE ACADEMIC DISTINCTIONS MATTER A LOT.

Based on our research at the ACC Sports Journal, the top quartet (Duke, BC, GT, WF) is well above everyone else -- on average -- in terms of the academic credentials of their football signees in recent years. Maryland, Miami, UNC and Virginia have tended to be in the middle tier in recent years. Clemson, FSU, NCSU and VT have tended to be in the bottom tier, with fewer outstanding students, more kids at/near NCAA minimums and more signees who end up failing to qualify academically. Again, though, this stuff changes from year to year.

Major props to David Glenn!!!!