Academic March Madness: Carolina Is the Champion

While fans are busy filling out brackets for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Inside Higher Ed has already predicted the winner of its fourth-annual academic performance tournament. And the 2009 champion is UNC.

To choose the national champion, Inside Higher Ed, an online higher education news source, uses the same 65-team bracket that’s used for the men’s basketball tournament. But in this contest, schools advance to the finals based on athletes’ performance in the classroom, not on the basketball court.

Inside Higher Ed uses the NCAA’s academic progress rate, which awards points to teams whose athletes are in good academic standing and stay enrolled in classes from semester to semester, to advance teams through each round. In the case of a tie, Inside Higher Ed uses the NCAA’s graduate success rate, which adds points for transfer students and subtracts points for athletes who leave college early.

In the past, teams that might not make it far in the basketball tournament have advanced to the final rounds of the academic performance tournament. Bucknell University and the College of Holy Cross have won the academic tournament but lost in early rounds of the basketball tournament. In 2008, the winner in academics tournament was Davidson College, a team that also upset a few teams in the basketball tournament while advancing to the Elite Eight.

In the 2009 academic performance tournament, the Final Four comes down to UNC, Brigham Young University, Villanova University and the University of Kansas, with UNC and BYU advancing to the final and UNC coming out the champion.

To see Inside Higher Ed‘s complete 2009 academic performance bracket visit:

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