UK Basketball's Poor Classroom Marks Mean ... Wait, What Do They Mean Again?

The news popped up over the weekend that Kentucky men's basketball put up a brick in the classroom during fall semester. The score? An overall GPA of 2.025. ↵

↵The GPA of 2.025 is the lowest for the program since 2002. It was the worst of nine schools who released information to the Lexington Herald-Leader. It didn't measure up to other college hoops blue bloods like Duke (3.01), Louisville (3.0) and Kansas (2.95). ↵

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↵This, of course, will bring the John Calipari bashers back out. On the surface, it'd be easy to speculate that such a large contingent of one-and-done players were responsible, but they can only be partially blamed. The Herald-Leader notes that two players had GPAs below 1.8 (1.667 and 1.765) and that players must have a 1.8 or better starting in their second year. (UK released only the individual averages, not the names of players who made the grades.) But it goes beyond those two unnamed players, according to UK senior associate athletic director Sandy Bell: ↵

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↵⇥"It's not the freshmen," she said. "It's not the seniors. It's not any one group. It's kind of across the board and for a lot of different reasons." ↵
↵On the positive side, GPAs were as high as 3.59. If you saw John Calipari interviewed about John Wall throughout the season, you probably heard him talking about the freshman point guard's outstanding grades. But somewhere between Wall's great year in the classroom and a few duds in the freshman class, you're left with an overall GPA that's pretty awful. So what does it mean? ↵

↵Calipari reportedly graduated 19 of 22 players who played four seasons at Memphis. That's a strong clip, particularly when you consider that many who left early probably did so to head to the NBA, earning more than 99 percent of college grads in their first job. This makes the GPA story a bit of a non-issue. Am I supposed to sit here and huff and puff that someone isn't interested in a free education? Why bother? A lot of the players joining Calipari at Kentucky (and previously at Memphis) have a pro basketball career on the mind. They're advancing toward what they believe is their future. I'm not saying I think it's a good thing to be without fallback options, but unless those GPAs indicate players have somehow run afoul of the rules, why should we, as sports fans, even care whether they're scoring a 2.0 or a 4.0? As DeMarcus Cousins said prior to the NCAA Tournament game against Cornell, "It's not a spelling bee." ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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