ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ The academic disparity between white and black football players who will compete in this season's five major bowls was more than twice the national average, according to a study released Monday.
However, the analysis by the University of Central Florida showed classroom improvement. Eighty-six percent of the 64 bowl-bound teams graduated at least 50 percent of their players. Richard Lapchick, the study author, did not have comparable figures of graduation rates from previous years.
Further, 62 percent (40 schools) matched or beat the NCAA's new Academic Progress Rate standard, which is intended to more accurately gauge grades and graduation rates. But the statistics are preliminary and don't include the most recent school year.
Perhaps most strikingly, white athletes in the Bowl Championship Series beat their counterparts among the 119 NCAA Div. I schools overall by graduating a 76.6 average, compared with 62 percent overall. But the black athlete graduation rate was 47.5 percent among those schools, worse than the 49 percent overall rate.
Lapchick said the racial disparity was a continued concern, but the NCAA's new academic standards are already making a difference.