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Subject: Re: Harvard basketball players are smart.


Author:
John Harvard
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Date Posted: 22:08:58 07/13/17 Thu
In reply to: Observer 's message, "Harvard basketball players are smart." on 16:09:25 07/12/17 Wed

HYP + C is predictable and consistent with the fundamental math between their AI floors/calculations. By rule, HYP + C have to recruit to higher AI standards than their brethren.

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[> Subject: Re: Harvard basketball players are smart. BUT they weren't smart four years ago.


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 00:06:25 07/14/17 Fri

The Harvard men's basketball team is to be commended for earning an academic excellence award. They are to be further commended for receiving four in a row.

But in the interest of the full context, it should be noted that, immediately before beginning a streak of four years with academic accolades, the Harvard basketball team had such a low team Academic Progress Rate that, had it continued for two more years, the Crimson would have been deemed ineligible to participate in postseason tournaments, per NCAA rules. No other Ivy basketball program has ever been in danger of being disqualified due to NCAA academic underperformance.

At the time, the Harvard men's basketball team had the lowest APR of any single varsity team in the Ivy League, with the exception of Penn men's fencing and some of those fencers are Eastern Europeans who don't speak English as a first language.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Harvard basketball players are smart. BUT they weren't smart four years ago.


Author:
John Harvard
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Date Posted: 00:26:23 07/14/17 Fri

Wasn't that due to the Intro to Congress suspensions. If so, that makes your comparison an easily explainable anomaly.

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[> [> [> Subject: Harvard APRs Crashed BEFORE The Cheating Scandal


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 23:37:04 07/18/17 Tue

JH, yours is a reasonable hypothesis. But the data actually shows that Harvard's Academic Progress Rating began to fall dramatically in 2011, before really accelerating downward in 2012. The Introduction to Congress scandal affected the 2013 season and the three seasons afterward, as the numbers are now reported as rolling four-year averages.

Note that there are two sources of grade inflation here:

First, the scale up to 1000 is a joke, as 930 is a failing grade which precludes participation in NCAA postseason tournaments. Secondly, in order to hide failing scores for individual years, the NCAA now only reports rolling four-year averages, whereas previously scores were reported for individual years.

That's how we knew that, for both 2011 and 2012, Harvard men's basketball scored below 930, the threshold for tournament participation.

HARVARD MEN'S BASKETBALL ACADEMIC PROGRESS RATING (four-year rolling average)

2005 982
2006 988
2007 987
2008 995
2009 991
2010 991
2011 974 beginning of downward movement
2012 956 nadir of rolling four-year average
2013 963 Harvard cheating scandal
2014 959 second lowest score, now including cheating scandal
2015 976
2016 987

I wouldn't be too impressed by the high GPAs at Harvard. The Crimson are still squarely in the bottom half of the League in APR scores.

IVY LEAGUE APR SCORES 2016


Columbia-Barnard 1000 (note to Tod Howard Hawks: that's the NCAA nomenclature)
Dartmouth 1000
Princeton 993
Cornell 992
Harvard 987
Yale 987
Penn 979
Brown 976

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Harvard APRs Crashed BEFORE The Cheating Scandal


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 23:41:16 07/18/17 Tue

Note that, except for Harvard's high water mark in 2008, the Crimson have NEVER scored as high as Columbia-Barnard, Dartmouth, Princeton or Cornell did just this past year.

Further note that Harvard really turned downward in 2011, perhaps not coincidentally the Crimson's first Ivy championship ever, though they were denied an NCAA tournament bid by Doug Davis' buzzer beating personal APR calculation.

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[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Harvard APRs Crashed BEFORE The Cheating Scandal


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 23:57:24 07/18/17 Tue

If you look at all the League APRs over the twelve-year sample, team scores are definitely trending downward.

Thus, I would assert that, in addition to the widely reported improved financial aid packages, the League is also getting better the old fashioned way, by recruiting and matriculating weaker students.

The Ivy League has set academic standards for its student-athletes so far above other conferences that loosening academic standards remains the best way to win more basketball games. Just as it always was.

Here's another way to cut the twelve-year sample. And kudos to Columbia-Barnard for dominating this competition. Maybe that's why the Lions don't win championships on the court.

NUMBER OF 1000 SCORES POSTED OVER 12 YEARS

Columbia-Barnard 7
Cornell 2
Dartmouth 2
Brown 2
Penn 1
Princeton 1
Yale 1
Harvard 0

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[> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 08:36:44 07/19/17 Wed


That the most common grade at Harvard is an "A."

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/12/3/grade-inflation-mode-a/

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
JD
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Date Posted: 08:36:42 08/07/17 Mon

I wish that, in the interest of educating prospective varsity athletes on what issues are most likely to trip them up, the League would compile and publish a list of the reasons why Ivy students fail to make progress on the APR evaluation.

To me, virtually any score south of 1000 should raise a red flag in our conference. Of course, there will always be kids to get homesick or have a family need call them home. But the conference office should track and publish these statistics.

As Go Green points out, it's not as if grade inflation is unheard of on our campuses. Why are so many Harvard athletes not making academic progress when the most common grade is an "A"?

This problem should be subject to statistical analysis so that all eight schools can improve their performance.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Don't raise the bridge, lower the river


Author:
Calvin
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Date Posted: 09:58:15 08/07/17 Mon

The Harvard solution will be to assign greater weight for their A's - one of theirs equals two of yours.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 10:01:39 08/07/17 Mon

The APR is not an evaluative metric for the grades or the specific in-classroom performance of student athletes.

It is a simplistic measure that merely gives two points per student: 1 if they are still in school and 1 if they are academically eligible. Divide by total points possible, multiply by 1000 and there's your APR score.

Thus, if you have a team of 13 basketball players (probably what the APR is based on, since that's the NCAA basketball scholarship limit), if you lose one point, that's a 962 or two points, that's a 923.

I'd argue that I care more about the median performance of athletes in the classroom than the outlier-based system that is the APR. The league should be far more interested in ensuring that the performance of athletes on metrics like GPA, class attendance and participation and the like than merely, "are you still here and are you doing the bare minimum to pass." And I'm sure that they are doing more of this type of analysis in the background.

While I do think that an Ivy program spending a significant spate of time in the 800s or even low 900s might be a cause for concern, the APR doesn't tell us much about the difference in actual classroom performance of a school getting a 95% (950) or a 98% (980).

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
JD
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Date Posted: 10:15:37 08/07/17 Mon

Yes, I agree with you that the APR is rather crude measure of how our athletes are doing academically. But it does force us to ask ourselves uncomfortable questions.

As Observer has noted, Harvard's basketball team has been cited for its fine team GPA over the past four years. But as An Observer has, well, also observed, Harvard has over the course of Amaker's tenure in our conference, posted by far the lowest APR performance of any Ivy hoops team.

How do these two facts co-exist?

I suspect that there is some survivor bias in the calculations. In other words, Harvard only reports the GPAs of the athletes who are actually still in school. Thus, Harvard can have more athletes who are either not in school or otherwise not eligible, while still posting a good team GPA, as long as the guys who are still on the team get good grades.

This seems like a bit of a flaw in the system. If you've got an athlete who has poor grades, you almost want him to get such bad grades he has to withdraw from school, so that his GPA does not get included in the team average.

It's like the reverse of the Camden McRae situation.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 10:45:19 08/07/17 Mon

It's pretty easy for those two facts to co-exist. The APR is exclusively a highly-sensitive measure of continued progress toward graduation with ZERO concern for whether that progress is straight C's or straight A's. It's a silly metric that, at this point, basically exists to keep many HBCUs from being postseason eligible.

I don't really know that I trust raw GPA metrics either, even irrespective of the charges of grade inflation. I'd like to know what classes each student took and how they performed against the general curve of those classes. Maybe things have changed in the last decade, but I worked harder for some of my lowest grades in certain classes than I ever did for much higher grades in others.

In other words, I wouldn't use any of this data to extol the academic performance of a team or to denigrate it.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
JD
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Date Posted: 11:03:48 08/07/17 Mon

Yes, I further agree with you.

Getting high grades does not mean that any student is necessarily being challenged to think or learn. However, getting low grades is, at a minimum, something of a red flag which invites further scrutiny.

Neither the APR scores or team GPAs are conclusive. And neither is immune to being gamed. Getting a 4.0 in Advanced Basketweaving is not reflective of a meaningful academic experience. We need look no further than the scandal which continues to unfold in Chapel Hill.

But, for the time being, the APR scores and the team GPAs are the data we have. So it's reasonable to use them to the extent we can, especially if we're using them to ask questions rather than answer them.

A low APR or a low team GPA should invite questions in a conference like ours.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 12:40:10 08/07/17 Mon

Bad data is not necessarily better than no data at all. Often it can be dangerous...

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Serious question


Author:
Calvin
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Date Posted: 11:22:19 08/07/17 Mon

"In other words, Harvard only reports the GPAs of the athletes who are actually still in school. Thus, Harvard can have more athletes who are either not in school or otherwise not eligible, while still posting a good team GPA, as long as the guys who are still on the team get good grades."

Is this allowed?

(Not meaning to target Harvard only here, if other schools do the same thing)

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Serious question


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 12:29:44 08/07/17 Mon

Pretty sure this was presented as a hypothetical, not as a factual representation of what is actually happening in reality.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Serious question


Author:
JD
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Date Posted: 12:35:12 08/07/17 Mon

I was suggesting survivor bias as a possible for explanation for how Harvard could simultaneously be cited for a favorable team GPA while also having had a relatively low APR during Amaker's tenure.

Survivor bias distorts many data averages. If you only measure the GPA of the guys still on the Harvard roster, you're missing the guys who are out of school or otherwise not eligible. Obviously, this latter group is likely to have a lower GPA.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Serious question


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 12:42:58 08/07/17 Mon

Survivor bias would need more "non-survivors" to be weeded out of the pool than are at play here. Again, one player can cause an APR to fall by 80 points. One player's low GPA being taken out wouldn't bias up the GPA of the survivors that much.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: To quote John Lyons...


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 14:03:56 08/07/17 Mon


"Harvard basically does whatever the hell they want."

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[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Harvard APRs Crashed BEFORE The Cheating Scandal


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 00:20:31 07/19/17 Wed

To be fair to all parties, this data needs to be interpreted in the context of League scores generally trending downward, especially in the last five years.

But Harvard's APR scores really began to crash in 2011, which was the Crimson's first championship ever AND the senior year of Tommy Amaker's first recruiting class. The Harvard APR scores bounced off their nadir sub-930 scores of 2011 and 2012, but have never fully recovered, even though the two players who withdrew due to the 2013 cheating scandal subsequently returned and graduated a year late.

Then the rest of the League scores started to head downwards, a trend which continues today.

The operating hypothesis seems to be that Amaker's arrival at Harvard coincided with the Crimson beginning to recruit substantially weaker students academically. The rest of the League watched Harvard win its first championship in 2011 with those weak students and then its first NCAA bid in 2012 with an even weaker cohort academically.

The rest of the League woke up and smelled the coffee, starting the race to the bottom which continues as we speak.

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