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Furman makes Final Four – academically

A study looks at schools that are emphasizing education on and off the court.

Last updated March 30, 2023

By Tina Underwood

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida puts out an annual study that looks at academic progress rates and graduation success rates for teams making it to the NCAA Division I Tournament. Through that lens, Furman University has made it to the Final Four in the men’s bracket according to Richard E. Lapchick, an ESPN contributor and lead investigator. In addition to Furman, the bracket includes Arizona State, Vermont and Alabama – teams that ranked highest with GSRs of 100 and APRs of 1,000.

In the women’s bracket, the researchers were unable to proceed beyond the Elite Eight because the top eight schools – Holy Cross, Creighton, Drake, Gonzaga, Sacred Heart, South Dakota State, Louisville and Michigan – each had GSRs of 100 and APRs of 1,000.

The 2023 report shows women outscore men by a wide margin with no women’s teams falling below the 930 APR benchmark this year. Women graduated at an average rate of 93.8%, while men graduated at an average rate of 84.9%.

The widening gap between white and Black male student-athletes is “most troubling” according to Lapchick who reports a 95.4% GSR for white male student-athletes and an 81.4% GSR for Black student-athletes. It’s a statistic that underscores the importance of resources for academic support, career training and readiness, internships, mentorships, and access to opportunities to improve and enhance athletes’ overall goals, Lapchick noted.


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