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(AP) — A study released Monday shows growing disparity between graduation rates for white and black players at schools in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.  An annual report by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found a 2 percent overall graduation rate increase to 66 percent for Division I players, but showed the rates for white players is increasing at a higher rate. The gap has grown from 22 percent in 2009 to a current level of 32 percent. White players show a 91 percent graduation rate, which is up 7 percent. Black players have a graduation rate at 59 percent, up 3 percent from last year’s study. This is the third straight year the gap has increased. Richard Lapchick, the institute director and primary author of the study, said the gap makes it hard to celebrate the overall progress. “To say that it’s troubling is an understatement,” Lapchick said. “It is a staggering gap, but I think you’ve seen an increased percentage among African-American athletes over the years because of the (Academic Progress Rate) thresholds. Losing scholarships is a big lever there. But I think now you have to raise the expectation level of the rates.”

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