With the NCAA's national average for its member schools' graduation success rate (GSR) being 76 percent, three of the above-mentioned schools have GSRs that meet or exceed this standard. However, four schools not ranked in the USNWR's top-50 also boast above-average GSRs for their student athletes, led by Davidson College at 96 percent and Villanova University at 94 percent.
On the women's side, five schools are ranked in the top-30 nationally, all of which boast exemplary GSRs. Four other survivors in the women's tournament also have excellent GSRs in relation to the national mean.
Overall, half of the 32 remaining teams make the extra effort in graduating their athletes, and those athletes have translated that success in the classroom to success on the hardwood. This is especially notable in the women's bracket, where all nine of the teams with high GSRs earned top-6 seeds in the tournament, led by top-seeded Connecticut and Maryland. These teams have managed to balance their academic commitments with their dominance on the basketball court that earned them these high seeds.
The men's bracket is slightly more convoluted—as it often is—with underdog teams Davidson and Villanova (10 and 12 seeds, respectively) making it to the Sweet Sixteen and also having great GSRs. But between the other five teams with above-average GSRs, the lowest seed among them is #5 Michigan State.
These data seem to point towards a correlation between academic and athletic success, as many of these schools are tournament regulars while continuing to graduate their athletes at a high level. These schools know what it takes to be successful, both in terms of their athletic departments and their student bodies in general.
When March Madness comes to a close in early April, try not to be surprised to find that many of the stars on the court are also stars in the classroom. These athletes know what it takes to be successful in every facet of life, which is why they will be deserving of raising the trophy while continuing towards the ultimate goal of earning their diplomas in the spring.
The Sweet 16 and the GSR- Men
|Western Kentucky||73%||Not Ranked||12|
|West Virginia||68%||Not Ranked||7|
The Sweet 16 and the GSR- Women
|Old Dominion||72%||Not Ranked||5|
|Oklahoma St.||73%||Not Ranked||3|