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  • 30 May
    SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The NCAA announced Tuesday that 77 percent of black mens Division I basketball players who entered college in 2009 earned a degree within six years, up five points from a year earlier and a record high.That improvement helped the overall Graduation Success Rate match last years record of 86 percent of athletes graduating within six years, the NCAA said. Of all black Division I student-athletes, 74 percent graduated within six years. NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a news release the improved rates were hugely significant.Over the last 15 years, the overall Graduation Success Rate has dramatically improved, but the really good news is how college sports helps more and more minority students, especially those playing our highest-profile sport, earn a degree that will help them long after their athletics career is over, he said.The graduation rate for black basketball players is up 31 percentage points over the past 15 years, the NCAA said. Overall, all black male athletes have increased their GSR by 19 percentage points to 70 percent during that time. Black female athletes improved their rate 13 points to 84 percent over that same time.For all Division I athletes, the rate increased 12 percentage points during the past 15 years.B. David Ridpath, an associate professor of sports business and president of The Drake Group, an NCAA watchdog, said the GSR provides only a partial picture, pointing to reports of athletes at North Carolina taking courses aimed at boosting their GPAs in a department popular with athletes.Are we essentially practicing eligibility maintenance, potentially in a major with friendly faculty? he said. Are these kids graduating with a very meaningful, vital degree that can benefit them for the next 50 to 60 years of their life? In some cases, yes, this is happening. But all too often -- and I know this because I worked in college athletics -- were essentially pushing these kids through, keeping them eligible and in cases where they do graduate they might not be graduating with the requisite skills.Among The Associated Press Top 25 football teams, the only teams with a GSR 65 percent or lower were No. 25 Troy at 65 percent and No. 13 Oklahoma State at 50 percent. Among Top 25 mens basketball teams, No. 4 Oregon had a GSR of 38 percent; No. 25 California 40 percent; No. 5 North Carolina, No. 18 Syracuse and No. 24 Cincinnati all had GSRs of 50 percent; and No. 13 Michigan State had a GSR of 63 percent.The University of Connecticut mens basketball team had one of the lower graduation rates at 22 percent, according to the latest results. But those 2009 numbers were actually a big improvement over previous years. The teams GSR rose from just 8 percent in 2006, 17 percent the following year and 20 percent in 2008.School spokesman Mike Enright said the poor graduation rate reflects the same time period for which UConn was sanctioned by the NCAA and missed the 2013 postseason because of another indicator, the Academic Progress Rate, which measures whether players are in good academic standing.The school has reported perfect or near perfect APR scores since 2012-13 and is expecting similar numbers this year, Enright said. He also said all current members of the basketball team are on track to graduate.The academic achievement of our mens basketball team has been outstanding the past several years and I have a full expectation that this will continue, UConn athletic director David Benedict said. Swell Traveler Sale . If ever they start actually putting pictures beside words in the dictionary, the Blue Jays left-handers mug will appear beside “Consistency. Swell Uk Bottle . The lawyers filed a 33-page amended complaint Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan, expanding on the suit originally filed Oct. 3 in New York Supreme Court. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz last week refused to compel Selig to testify in the grievance, and Rodriguez then walked out of the hearing without testifying. http://www.swellbottleuk.com/ . Miikka Kiprusoff had just announced his retirement after a decade-long run in Calgary and it would be up to Berra and Ramo to fill the void. S Well Teakwood Drinking Bottle . -- Al Jefferson found a groove just in time for the Charlotte Bobcats. Marble Water Bottle Cheap . Gather a group of friends, or find a league to join online, draft your team, set your lineup and compete in a number of different formats. ORLANDO, Fla. -- Arkansas State senior wide receiver Kendall Sanders admits that he was pushed by his coaches and even teammates when he didnt want to be at times this season.The Texas transfer came around as the Red Wolves season progressed in his lone year with the program. Sanders finally put it all together in his final appearance Saturday night, catching five passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-13 rout of UCF in the AutoNation Cure Bowl.It was almost like vindication for Sanders who missed two years of football after leaving the Longhorns under the controversy of a sexual assault case in which he was acquitted last year.I just had to continue to fight, said Sanders, who also took home the Cure Bowl MVP. I just thank God for giving me another opportunity and I just tried to make the best of it.Sanders speed opened up opportunities for big plays all night with quarterback Justice Hansen connecting with Sanders on touchdown passing plays of 12, 75 and 17 yards for a career night. His 75-yard touchdown reception on the third play of the second half set the tone for remainder of the game as the Red Wolves (8-5) went up by a commanding 24-10 just 51 seconds into the third quarter.Sanders got by the safety, broke a tackle and outran the secondary to the end zone.Initially in my route I had to run a 20-yard route but I had just had the conversation with him (Hansen) and he was like just get past the safety, Sanders said. So I kind of cut it short and tried to past the safety so he could see me and he hit me right in stride. From there I just used my God-given abilities.It was a fitting ending to college career that was about perseverance.I really dont think he started out the season with too much confidence, he was rusty and had to get his feet underneath him, Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson said. What youve seen him do the last five or six weeks he started playing better and better. That explosive play we had on the very first series of the second half, we desperately needed that to gain the momentum back.The Red Wolves also received major contributions from their defense and special teams.ddddddddddddrkansas States defensive front, led by defensive end JaVon Rolland-Jones, swarmed UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton all night, giving him little time to find open receivers. But the special teams unit also came through big, contributing two turnovers that led to touchdowns and also blocking a punt for a touchdown.When you look at a team that is as good (defensively) as Central Florida is you know special teams has to come up huge, said Anderson.For first-year UCF coach Scott Frost the biggest takeaway was learning how much more his team has to grow to take the next step.We got to get a lot better, said Frost, who team finished the year 6-7. I think our payers gave us absolutely all they had and I think this group got about everything they could out of themselves.TAKEAWAYUCF: Clearly, Frost wasnt comfortable letting Milton throw the ball down field and that hurt the offense. Jawon Hamilton found little running room with Arkansas State stacking the box and the short passing game to TreQuan Smith rarely produced the desired results in a disappointing showing in front of the Knights home crowd.Arkansas State: While the special teams units made most of the highlight plays, the defense was dominant throughout. Defensive end JaVon Rolland-Jones and linebacker Chris Odom kept the pressure on Milton and didnt give Hamilton any running lanes.UP NEXTUCF: The Knights could be a contender for the American Athletic Conference title next year but Milton has to take some big steps, especially with his mechanics. Too often he throws off his back foot which leaves passes well short of the receiver. Defensively Frost will have to find a way to replace his entire secondary.Arkansas State: The Red Wolves lose quite a bit along the offensive line and on defense, but they have enough explosive players to run their string of postseason appearances to seven next season.---More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 ' ' '