By Victor Trammell The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (UPGSE) just released a report based on its study of graduation rates for black male athletes in the NCAA. The study’s findings concluded that black male athletes have considerably lower graduation rates in comparison to the overall rate of student athletes. According to the Associated Press, The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at UPGSE produced data collected over a four-year time frame. The data tracked the study of athletes from the NCAA school conferences, including the Big 10, ACC, Big East, Pac 12, Big 12, and the SEC. The UPGSE study showed that on average, 50.2 percent of NCAA black male athletes graduated within 6 years. Another finding was that 96.1 percent of the NCAA schools graduated black male athletes at lower rates in comparison to all other athletes. However, there were some NCAA schools that were positive exceptions. These schools graduated black male athletes at higher rates than the 50.2 percent overall average. The top two were Notre Dame (81 percent) and Northwestern University (83 percent). The NCAA claimed that black male student athletes graduate at a 10 percent higher rate than than black males attending its schools who are non-athletes. The UPGSE study refuted these claims. Shaun Harper, the report’s lead author stated: “While the graduation disparities were not surprising, what was surprising was the astounding pervasiveness and depth of the disparities, as well as the fact that institutional leaders, the NCAA and athletics conference commissioners have not done more in response to them. “Research has yielded clear strategies for (African-American) male student-athlete success. However, there needs to be the institutional will to implement these simple, and often low-cost, solutions, as well as accountability from the media and the athletes themselves.” (The Associated Press) The study also found that there were various NCAA schools that graduated black male athletes at significantly lower rates than the overall average (50.2 percent). Arkansas, Arizona, and South Florida all graduated black male athletes at the rate of 31 percent. Iowa State had the lowest overall rate, which was 30 percent.