Leave it to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity in Ethics and Sports to harsh everyone’s NCAA Tournament mellow. On the eve of one of the college season’s most eagerly anticipated matchups — that is, Florida A&M versus Niagara for the right to get stomped by Kansas — Richard Lapchick (above) and Marie Bustamante have authored a report stating that many tournament teams aren’t doing such a good job graduating their players. Or, if you prefer it without the passive construction, that players on many tournament teams aren’t doing such a good job of graduating. Or, if you prefer it in the writers’ own words:

Using the yardstick Graduation Success Rates — which accounts for players who transfer to other schools and receive degrees — players entering from junior colleges and those who receive degrees more than six years after enrollments, 9 percent of Florida A&M players, 19 percent of Eastern Kentucky and 50 percent of Oregon players were graduated, according to the study, written by Lapchick and Maria Bustamante.

Lapchick said the study found that while graduation rates are improving, there remains a huge gap between the figures for black and white basketball players…

Lapchick’s study said that based on the GSR formula, 68 percent of teams bound for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament graduated 70 percent or more of their white players, but just 30 percent graduated 70 percent or more of black players. While 76 percent of white basketball players receive degrees, just 51 percent of black players do.

“I think that the goal had been 50 percent. That was considered a good graduation rate. But I think there are so many schools that have a 60, 70 percent rate, that I would recommend that we raise it, the 60-to-70 percent rate be considered the new standard of what’s good.”

Lapchick said 41 Division I schools, including seven headed to the tournament, didn’t graduate any black players. Twenty-one schools, including tournament-bound Eastern Kentucky, didn’t graduate any white players.

Using the more draconian Federal Graduation Rate — in which players who transfer in or out are excluded — Tennessee, UNLV, Texas A&M, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Gonzaga, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Oral Roberts, Memphis, North Texas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi are all under 25%. Bruce Pearl’s Vols lead the way with a sterling 8% rate. This standard has become more troublesome of late, though, since players who leave early for the NBA Draft (see Gonzaga, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Memphis) or transfer elsewhere show up as demerits on a team’s ledger. Please note: this should not be read as inferring that John Calipari cares at all about educating his players. But it’s worth remembering. Thanks to Pete for the link.

As for the still-expanding pool in this year’s First Annual CSTBracket: my favorite names in the field so far are Peter Segall’s “Drexellent,” which pours some out for those who ain’t here (i.e., in the tournament) and Joey of Straight Bangin‘s “Billy Packer’s A Douche,” for stating the obvious. Follow the link above to punch your ticket.