Team defeats Harvard, Butler, Notre Dame based on academic standards
InsideHigherEd.com—an online source for news, opinion and jobs for all of higher education—released today its own picks for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket and selected Belmont University to take home the Championship Trophy, at least according to the team’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR). The site annually completes an NCAA bracket based on each team’s academic performance, and for the past two years the winner of its Academic Performance Tournament bracket has played in the actual championship game.
A team’s APR is a measure of eligibility and retention for Division 1 student-athletes that was developed by the NCAA. Belmont’s men’s basketball currently boasts a perfect 1000-point APR as well as a 100 percent graduation rate. Even those numbers still made the Academic Bracket a challenge as the Bruins were matched by Notre Dame in the Sweet 16, but Belmont pulled through with a tiebreaker based on federal graduation rates.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “I’ll be the first to admit my love for basketball and the joy it brings to see our players compete. However, nothing makes me prouder than seeing our students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs, an effort that begins in an academically challenging environment. Our scholar-athletes’ performance in the classroom indicates to me that their future success is ensured, regardless of game scores or tournament bids.”
Men’s basketball Head Coach Rick Byrd added, “We appreciate Inside Higher Ed recognizing Belmont University and our men’s basketball program in this fashion. We are proud of the academic success that our players, both past and present, have achieved.”
On the road to the InsideHigherEd.com Academic Bracket Championship, the Bruins bested teams from Arizona, Harvard, Notre Dame, Mississippi and Kansas before “defeating” Butler in the final round. Click here to view the bracket.
Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Our goal is to prepare our students to be successful in whatever activity they pursue, and that always begins with a rigorous classroom experience. For many years our student athletes have excelled on the field of play and in the classroom, achieving a perfect graduation rate. Several student athletes have completed advanced degrees while performing at the ‘top of their game.’ While all of us realize that Inside Higher Ed’s Academic Brackets are just for entertainment, we applaud their efforts to reinforce the importance of academic challenge, integrity and success during March Madness.”
Before joining the Ohio Valley Conference last summer, Belmont student-athletes claimed their final Atlantic Sun All Academic trophy. It was the ninth time in the University’s 11 years in the conference that Belmont won the award.
Belmont No. 11 seed men’s basketball team will face the No. 6 Arizona Wildcats in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Bruins and Wildcats are scheduled to play this Thurs., March 21 from the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah as part of the West Regional bracket. Tip-off time is 6:20 p.m. Central, and a Watch Party on Belmont’s campus is currently being planned that will be free and open to the public to attend.