As of this afternoon, Bruce Weber’s four departing seniors will leave K-State’s campus with a diploma in hand: Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving, Omari Lawrence, and Rodney McGruder. That’s four diplomas out of four players (including one academic All-American in McGruder) and is something the athletics department – and the school at large – should be proud.
This blog is not being condescending or sarcastic when it says that all four outgoing players are graduating this year – not towards the program and not towards college basketball at large. The Kansas State four year graduation rate is 23 percent, while the six year graduation rate is 56 percent. The NCAA’s basketball graduation doesn’t have much of a hook to hang its hat on either – less than of players in the incoming class of 2005 had a diploma by 2011. Two of this year’s final four teams – Louisville and Wichita State – graduate about a third of their seniors on an annual basis.
So yeah, it’s a big deal that K-State agreed to take on these athletes and help ensure they left Manhattan with an education. According to John Edwards of The Collegian, “K-State leads the Big 12 in student athlete graduation rates and has for the past four years” in all sports. So here’s a quick toast to the four outgoing seniors that juggled the pressures of big time college athletics, classes, practice, and travel to bring the school a share of the Big 12 title this year: