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Monday November 27, 2000

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Poor graduation rates could hinder UA basketball recruitment

By Ryan Gabrielson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

1993 class of scholarship recipients had 0 percent graduate

The UA men's basketball team's 0 percent graduation rate for scholarship recipients, who began at the university in 1993, could hurt more than the program's reputation.

If a proposal, now working it's way through the NCAA, becomes approved in April, such results could limit the University of Arizona's ability to recruit for the men's basketball team.

If a class of scholarship recipients does not have a 50 percent graduation rate after six years from when the student-athletes began at a university, then the program loses one scholarship.

Each year, the men's basketball program has 13 scholarships available, leaving them with only 12 if the graduation rate is too low.

While not against setting different standards for universities' basketball programs' graduation rates, Rocky Larose, UA senior associate director of athletics, said. She also said thinks the standards should be set on a university by university basis.

"It's unfair to compare a public institution with a private institution," Larose said.

She said the UA should not have the same graduation rates as schools like Stanford University.

Nationally, collegiate baseball players have only a 42 percent graduation rate, Dejulio said.

If the proposal is approved by the NCAA, student-athletes who transferred to another university or became professional would not count against the institution as long as they were in good academic standing upon leaving, said Steve Mallonee, NCAA director of member services.

Larose said that the 0 percent graduation rate for the 1993 class of scholarship recipients was affected by students who became professional and transferred to another university.

She added yesterday that she was unsure if those students were in good standing when they left the university and whether that would raise the UA basketball program above the 50 percent mark.

When scholarship recipients enter the university, they are given six years to graduate. If they don't graduate during that period of time, then it counts against the basketball program's graduation rate.

The basketball program's small recruiting classes also works against their ability to keep graduation rates high.

"If two students are brought in and one doesn't graduate then you have a 50 percent graduation rate," Larose said. "If you can eliminate those who left in good standing, that's going to raise the graduation rate."

Now in the "comment period," the proposal has been distributed and feedback is being given. Mallonee, who wrote the proposal, said that the limitations, if passed, would not go into effect for at least a year.