While nearly everyone is filling out their brackets, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) released on Monday its annual study on the academic performance of the players in the NCAA Division I tournament teams. The study’s primary author, TIDES Director Dr. Richard Lapchick, compares the graduation rate data of Black and White male basketball student-athletes.
“There is not much good news to report as almost every category examined remained the same or got worse,” wrote Lapchick.
The women teams’ report was released Tuesday. A more detailed analysis will be in next week’s “Another View” in the MSR print edition.
The rise and fall of a powerhouse conference
If you didn’t see Requiem for the Big East on ESPN on Sunday, you missed a very good account of the first basketball-only conference’s rise and fall.
As part of the network’s 30 for 30 series, the two-hour documentary directed by Ezra Edelman and narrated by actor Giancarlo Esposito showed how the Big East came together as a dream by the late Dave Gavitt, who launched it in 1979 — ironically the same year as the four-letter sports network. The Big East became the first major conference formed entirely with Northeastern schools: Georgetown, Syracuse, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Boston College and Connecticut.
The conference was “a network of schools with like-minded cultural attitudes about basketball,” wrote Kevin McFarland on The A.V. Club (www.avclub.com), and featured soon-to-be-hall of fame coaches such as John Thompson, Jim Boeheim, Rollie Massimino and Lou Carnesecca — all of whom appeared in the doc, which used archival game footage and scenes from the league’s last post-season conference in 2013. Also featured were Patrick Ewing, Ed Pinckney, Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, Chris Mullin and others who played in the league that was uniquely suited for television.
However, the old Big East “fell apart in 2011” due to schools leaving for other conferences and because of money. The “new” Big East is now a 10-team league that acquired the rights to the name, but not the same aura as its predecessor.
Edelman definitely presented his film as a “requiem.”
“I hoped to not simply tell a story about the rise of a great basketball conference but also to understand and ultimately convey the causes of its fall,” says the director in his film synopsis. “Hopefully, Requiem for the Big East will educate the uninitiated on what made the Big East great, while also informing longtime fans why it was doomed to fall apart.”
The film is a must-see for college hoops fans. If it is shown again, especially during March Madness, I suggest you take the time and watch it.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman @ spokesman-recorder.com