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TIME's Analysis of "March Madness" Puts Davidson in National Championships -- for Academic Progress!

by Davidson College
NCAA bracket based on academic progress rate
Davidson advances through the final games of the West bracket to a national championship matchup with Kansas!

An article in the March 26 edition of TIME magazine determined that Davidson would be in the national finals in the NCAA basketball tournament this coming weekend-if that tournament was based on academic progress of the players! The article, titled "Bench Bracket. Low graduation rates will drop schools out of March Madness," discussed new NCAA academic requirements for teams playing in the organization's tournaments.

During the next four years, the NCAA will phase in a rule it approved last October requiring teams to be on track for graduating 50 percent of their players to be tournament-eligible. Of the 68 teams in this year's men's basketball tournament, 14 would have been ineligible under the new rule-including number one-ranked Syracuse.

The NCAA rulebook explains, "Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one retention point for staying in school and one eligibility point for being academically eligible each semester. A team's total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by one thousand to equal the team's Academic Progress Rate score."

Though the article itself didn't mention Davidson, an accompanying fantasy bracket, titled "March Madness, By the Books," illustrated which teams would advance in the tournament if winners of each game were determined strictly by higher academic progress rate. Based on that scenario, Davidson advanced through the brackets by beating Louisville, Long Beach State, Michigan State, Brigham Young and Lehigh, then faced Kansas for the national championship.

And though Davidson handed Kansas a surprising upset in reality on the court early this basketball year, the TIME fantasy chart gave Kansas the win in that game, and the national crown.

But there's no doubt that being number two in the national championship "brain brackets" for 2012 is outstanding, and offers a shining testament to the success of the college's commitment to recruiting student athletes who excel in the classroom as well as in competition.