Notre Dame, Duke put academics first
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
Duke is No. 1 in basketball.
Notre Dame is No. 1 in football.
I know, I know. This is the nightmare scenario for some of you. Not just one of the teams you wouldn’t be caught dead rooting for, but two. Air sickness bag, anyone?
But love them or loathe them – and the planet is full of those who do both –– don’t miss the big picture here.
They’re the GSR Duet. Graduation Success Rate, which measures the percentage of athletes in a program who earn their degrees. Notre Dame football clocked in at 97% on the last survey, and nobody else in the FBS can claim better. But Duke basketball can. A nice round 100%.
So the top-ranked teams in the polls are also the top-ranked teams in diplomas. Just when you thought you couldn’t hear the term “student-athlete” one more time and keep a straight face, here’s a pair of programs that go together like cap and gown. The moral of their story: Apparently, you can win big, and still show up for history class.
“I think we’re going to validate that this year, you can do both,” Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said the other day, “and they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”
That’s too important a message to get lost in antipathy, times being what they are in college athletics. It’s been proven before, but seldom by blood this blue, in both major sports at the same time.
Notre Dame’s top star is senior Manti Te’o. He has a 3.3 grade point average as a design major, with a flair for art.
Duke’s top star is senior Mason Plumlee. He’s an Academic All-American majoring in psychology and cultural anthropology.
Notre Dame starts four graduate students.
Duke starts three seniors. Plumlee, Seth Curry with his double major in sociology and African and African-American studies, and Ryan Kelly, with something on his academic resume called National Latin … [For more on Lopresti: Notre Dame, Duke show academics go with sport, click here.]