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Forget points – what if March Madness focused on graduation rates?

March Madness has historically been a season of underdogs and upsets. But what would the brackets look like if teams in the tournament were pitted against each other using graduation rates for the men’s basketball teams?

Capital News Service

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By Owen FitzGerald

March Madness has historically been a season of underdogs and upsets. But what would the brackets look like if teams in the tournament were pitted against each other using the graduation rates for their men’s basketball players?

Some college teams may be great at finishing close games — but their players aren’t so successful at finishing their degrees.

For example, Iowa State — the No. 24 seed overall in the NCAA Tournament — has graduated only 8 percent of the men’s basketball players who enrolled in recent years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. If that were the Cyclones’ field goal percentage, they would be lucky to have won any games at all this season.

Murray State, the 46th seed, awarded degrees to only 9 percent of its men’s basketball players. On the other hand, Duke, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, graduated 57 percent of its players — which beats the team’s field goal percentage (47.7 percent).

Virginia Commonwealth University’s Capital News Service used data from the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Education to create tournament-like brackets based on graduation rates instead of success on the court.

Graduation rates can be measured in two ways:

  • The Education Department computes the federal graduation rate, or FGR. It represents the proportion of first-year, full-time student-athletes who entered a school on athletic scholarship and graduated from that institution within six years. This rate does not account for student-athletes who may transfer to another school and graduate elsewhere. The Education Department calculates the FGR for regular students, too — not just student-athletes.
  • In the early 2000s, the NCAA developed its own measurement — the graduation success rate, or GSR. NCAA officials say this rate more accurately reflects modern patterns of student-athlete enrollment and transfers. The GSR holds institutions accountable for students who transfer into their school and does not penalize colleges whose student-athletes transfer from the school in good academic standing.

CNS created a set of brackets comparing teams based on their federal graduation rates and another set based on their graduation success rates.

Using the FGR, the Final Four teams would be Yale, Buffalo, Colgate and Northeastern.

Using the GSR, the Final Four teams would be Yale, Gonzaga, Colgate and Washington.

Either way, in both sets of brackets, Yale was the national champion, having graduated 100 percent of its men’s basketball players. (Colgate also had a GSR of 100 percent, but we gave the nod to Yale based on the graduation rate for students overall.)

The CNS brackets and data are at http://bit.ly/madness-grad-rates.

More information about NCAA graduation rates can be found at http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/graduation-rates.

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The Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. In the program, journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia and distribute their stories, photos, and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites.

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Community

Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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Crime

City of Richmond declares State of Emergency due to “credible threats” related to planned protests

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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The City of Richmond and Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration has declared a State of Emergency for the city due to what officials call “credible threats” of violence related to planned protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.

The declaration follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a statewide State of Emergency, which allowed the administration to send National Guard troops and State Troopers to Washington, D.C. to help with security, logistics, and other immediate needs following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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