What is this Butler team's legacy?

April 5, 2011
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This morning, I was asked by WIBC’s Steve Simpson what the legacy of this Butler Bulldog basketball team would be. And I’m afraid at the early hour of the morning when the question was asked, I didn’t do a very good coming up with a coherent answer.

Upon further reflection, I think there are some key numbers to consider when contemplating Butler’s legacy over the last few year’s in men’s basketball. Most of them have nothing to do with points and rebound or winning and losing on the court.

After the sandman vacated my eyes this morning, I recalled a conversation I had two weeks ago with a parent of a prospective Butler student; not a ball player, just a serious student. The parent told me his child became a huge Butler fan when she learned the Butler players went to class the day of last year’s NCAA championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

So when you ask me what the legacy of this Butler basketball team will be, I could point to wins and losses, or financial and marketing gains for the school’s athletics department or even the larger university. I could even point to the tough-face, yet cuddly mascot that’s made national headlines.

But this is what I’d tell you: Butler’s NCAA graduation rate stands at 83 percent.

For comparison’s sake, VCU’s is 56 percent, Kentucky’s is 44 percent and Connecticut’s is 31 percent.

Now you tell me, who is the national champion? What is the real prize?

And when all the cheering has faded, how will these teams and these players be remembered in the eyes of those who matter most?

  • Well said...
    Very great point sir.
  • Same with the Women's Tourney
    The Women's Championship Game features Notre Dame at 100% grad rate, vs Texas A&M, with the lowest grad rate of the Sweet 16. Notre Dame wins no matter the score.
  • Legacy?
    Gee Anthony, what would the legacy had been if David had slayed Goliath?

    NO Butler fans should hang their heads today, they accomplished what others only dream of....having a shot at the title. Two years in a row. And, next year they will do it all over again for a chance at the title.

    If all you can see is academics today thats too bad....Butler is now a force, a something in the world of college basketball. That's what you wanted the legacy to be, and that's what the legacy is today. Bad games happen, maybe they peaked on Saturday, who knows. But, they're all winners. Even on the basketball court.
  • don't take it for granted
    Chief, you reminded me of something Larry Brown once said during the Pacers first march to the NBA East finals. He said, in essence, you never realize how difficult something is while you're doing it, but only after it's done and you reflect upon it. The Pacers certainly realize how difficult it is to get to a seventh game of an East finals now. I'm certainly not suggesting Butler fans should hang their heads nor should they stop dreaming of winning the NCAA title. But they should take a moment to realize what an incredible accomplishment this team has made in just getting to the final game two years in a row. Let's be realistic, the Dawgs may never be back this way again. And I disagree, Butler was not a winner on the court on Monday. They lost, and that's OK. That's the nature of sport. But that wasn't my original point. My original point was that a college's ultimate goal, it's primary measure of success, should be educating and graduating people, not winning NCAA championships. That's how I think Butler should be remembered. And that's how winning and losing in the larger scheme of things ultimately should be measured. As always, thanks for reading.
  • Way to go guys...
    Couldn't be prouder of this group of guys even if they had won the championship. They are a credit to their school, team and the human race. Many could learn from them and the way the student body at Butler conducted themselves!
  • devil's advocate
    i think it is great accomplishment having such high graduation rates, but it should be remembered that one factor contributing to that rate is that very few Butler players have gone to the NBA (not sure if any) from the teams of the past few years. while i agree that some big state schools have really horrendous graduation rates for their athletes, the numbers are slightly misleading because they include athletes who are future pros and are never really expected to graduate and we'll never know whether or not they would be able to do so if given the time.
  • RE:
    Gordon Hayward ring a bell? Kid was a ringer who went pro after his sophomore year last year at Butler.

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