Duncan drew attention to low college graduation rates as March Madness began March 18.

Duncan drew attention to low college graduation rates as March Madness began March 18.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says college basketball teams that don’t graduate at least 40 percent of their players should be banned from postseason play.

Duncan said in remarks delivered in a conference call March 17 that his idea represents a low bar, and over time it should be raised.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams says a ban based on graduation rates unfairly penalizes current players for the academic performance of athletes from years ago. He says the NCAA already has a system in place that penalizes schools if they do not meet academic benchmarks.

Under Duncan’s idea, a dozen teams in this year’s men’s NCAA tournament would be ineligible based on findings of report from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

That includes a No. 1 seed, Kentucky, which graduated 31 percent of its players over the period measured by the institute.

Duncan and President Barack Obama have set a goal of having 60 percent of Americans graduate from college by 2020.


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