Athletes DO graduate from college

Race, Class, and Graduation Rates

These two together make a valuable point that’s often missed in the operatic hand-wringing about the failures and abuses of college athletics: when you’re talking about graduation rates, it’s important to compare apples to apples.

Interesting article.  Everyone has heard about the abysmal graduation rate of college athletes, especially at the top sports schools.  But the point here is that comparing the graduation rates of athletes to the overall graduation rates isn’t fair.  If you look at the graduation rates separated by race, it becomes clear that the problem is not that too few athletes graduate, but that too few minorities graduate. 

This is not to say that this isn’t a problem.  But the potential solutions to the problem are very different.  It reminds us that it’s very important to actually identify the problem before trying to solve it.  This should be obvious, but too often it isn’t.

Back in college, as a math major, I remember hearing over and over how important it was to first understand the question.  At times, I thought, “Leave me alone, of course I understand the question, and if I didn’t, it’s your fault for the way you wrote it.”  But then you get to the real world, and it becomes less and clear what the questions are.  I guess my professors were right. 

Anyway, the article suggests that athletes’ graduation rates would take care of themselves if we helped out minority students.  Which seems like a good idea to me.

More baseball geekery

I’m making some progress with my baseball game. I’ve switched from Gedit to Anjuta, which I’m pretty happy with so far. Very lightweight, easy to use.

I’m fooling with pointers now, and remembering that I never really understood them when I was doing C++ before. So I’m figuring it out now. Slowly. I knew there was a reason I liked Java.

Anyway, it’s been going reasonably well.  I need to get over a little hump in general C++ knowledge, and then I should start making better progress.

New depths of nerd

Or maybe it’s new heights. I guess that depends on your point of view. I’ve been doing a little fooling around with some C++ with GCC. I’m doing a little baseball simulating, and it’s going well. If it continues to go well, I’ll eventually have a little executable that generates pages and pages of wonderful statistics that I can do all sorts of wonderful things with.

I realize I’m in a very small minority with my obsession with baseball statistics, but those of us here (And by ‘here’, I mean ‘In the crazy minority’) are really into it. The wife doesn’t really understand, but as long as I don’t sit here writing code and ignoring her while she’s talking, I think she’ll humor me.

I’m a little disappointed with Eclipse, however. It was slow, error messages were unhelpful, and code completion was iffy. And since code completion is one of the greatest things about an IDE, its absence is kind of a deal breaker.  It may be partly a function of my crappy computer, though.

So I’m currently coding in Gedit and doing command-line compiling. It’s fine so far, but I haven’t done anything really complicated.

Anyway, it’s fun.

I just realized why I like this site

Sabermetric Research: The large supply of tall people

But there’s a short supply of humans who are in the right tail of any and every normal distribution. Again, why should height be different? I see three ways height is different, and both of them work against Berri’s argument.

I’ve been reading the above blog ever since I came across it on the Numbers Guy blog at the WSJ.  This morning, I realized why I like it so much.  This guy takes two things I love, justice and files . . . I mean, statistics and complaining, and sticks them together.  He reads something, like a person blaming the competitive imbalance in basketball on the small supply of tall people, and he not only says, “Hey, you’re wrong” (Which I love to do), but then he goes on to give statistical analysis on WHY (Which I would do if I were a little more educated and motivated).

His analysis is pretty accessible, and it’s usually (Almost always, I guess) sports-related.

Anyway, I recommend the blog.  If you’ve ever listened to an argument and thought, “Hey, you’re wrong, but I can’t show you why”, you’ll enjoy reading.