David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Bracketology: Final Four

March 31, 2013:  Bracketology -- The Final Four

Pregame:  Semi-final Game #1

Gym Gnat:  Welcome to Chicago, everybody, for the NCAA College Challenges Final Four.  It's only appropriate that the Final Four comes from the same place and at the same time as the Higher Learning Commission Annual Meeting.  If you're wondering how we got here, see the entire bracket here.

Let's bring in my partner, the always loquacious Stark Tell All.

Stark Tell All:  Thanks, Gym.  Happy to be here.  Looking forward to some exciting match-ups featuring some heavyweights of the educational landscape.

Gym Gnat:  Got that right, Stark.  In our first match-up we have Tenure out of the Faculty Experience Regional going up against Graduation Rates from the General Regional.  It's a classic match-up of the old guard vs. the new, isn't it, Stark?

Stark Tell All:  You got that right, partner.  Everybody knows Tenure and you either love 'em or you hate 'em.  They're monied, they're privileged, they're unified in their game plan. You can say they have been right on track to return here to Chicago for the 50th year in a row.

Gym Gnat:  Ha, ha.  "Track."  Very good, Stark.

Stark Tell All:  Thank you, Gym. I've been waiting to use that line for years.

Gym Gnat:  So, what about the new kids on the  block, Graduation Rates?

Stark Tell All:  They've been hanging tough through the whole Tournament, Gym.  Their fan base of fervent, albeit misinformed, politicians and conservative talk show hosts, makes them a dangerous opponent for Tenure.  

Gym Gnat:  In case you haven't seen it yet, everybody, Graduation Rates has released a new billboard for this game.  You can see them going up and down the Dan Ryan Expressway. For more on that, let's go to the third member of our team, Racy Woolscap.

Racy Woolscap:  That's right, Gym.  Just this week, Graduation Rates unveiled billboards claiming this game as the "Power of Ten:  Tenure or Ten % -- You make the choice, America."  They are referencing, of course, institutions across the country who graduate about 10% of their students each year.

Gym Gnat:  Ouch, that has to hurt.   

Stark Tell All:  Got that right, Partner.  I expect Tenure to respond like the champions they are.


Post-Game:  Semi-final Game #1

Gym Gnat:  We may have just witnessed a turning point in higher education, folks.  Graduation Rates completely dominated the second half of this game and eventually wore down Tenure.  You could even see some of the defections happening during the game, as bench players for Tenure, dying to get into the game, eventually snuck down to Graduation Rates, knowing that if they supported them, they might get into the game and not be subjected to the harsh and sometimes rude initiations of the Tenure coaching staff.

Stark Tell All:  You got that right, partner.  Eventually everybody was supporting Graduation Rates.  Money was there, "dropping a dime" at the right moment.  Grad Rates rode the spurtability of public perception and protected the "pumpkin" via regulations. Once those disillusioned new faculty members climbed on the big fellah's back, IT WAS A BEATDOWN.

Gym Gnat:  Let's go to Racy, who is with the coach of Graduation Rates.

Racy Woolscap:  What was that, Gym?  I couldn't hear you over Stark's screaming.

Gym Gnat:  Go ahead with your interview with the coach of Graduation Rates.

Racy Woolscap:  Uh, actually, I don't have him, Gym.  His contract ran out.  It was for 6 years, even though the catalog says it was 4 years.  There's a lot of confusion down here.  


Pre-Game:  Semi-final Game #2

Gym Gnat: Now we see who battles Graduation Rates for the championship.  We have Remediation from the Student Experience Regional vs. Tuition from the Money Regional.  Should be a dandy of a game.  Stark, how do you see this one?

Stark Tell All:  Remediation just keeps getting bigger and bigger, Gym.  While that doesn't necessarily equate with stronger, it's hard to ignore the numbers.  75% of in-coming college students needing some kind of remediation in math or English, wow!  The constant pressure of Remediation on Tuition.  Look out!

Gym Gnat:  What do you think is the key to stopping Remediation, partner?

Stark All:  Well, partner, you gotta either accelerate or slow it down.  Pace is a key.

Gym Gnat: I don't understand, which is it, Stark?  Speed up Remediation and get the students in and out quickly, or slow it down and be patient in getting the results you need?

Stark Tell All:  That's right, Gym.

Gym Gnat:  Uh, o.k.  What do you have courtside, Racy?

Racy Woolscap:  A feeling that it's much better to be down here among the confusion of Remediation and Tuition than up there with you and your Remediation Case Study partner.


Post-Game: Semi-final; Game #2

Gym Gnat:  Well, no real surprise here, folks.  Remediation in a run-away.  Isn't that right, partner?

Stark Tell All:  You got that right, partner.  Remediation was all over the floor.  Tuition never had a chance.  From the opening tip, when tuition had to stop to explain their percentage increases, to the final shot when after four quarters without marked improvement, remediation still hadn't made it to college level classes, this was domination. And that's why Remediation is CUTTING DOWN THE NYLON.

Gym Gnat:  Racy, you got any post-game reactions?

Racy Woolscap: Tuition is refusing to leave the floor, Gym.  It's really quite a scene.  Remediation is cutting down the nets, Tuition is raising the cost of attendance. I have never seen anything like this.

Gym Gnat:  What a remarkable sight, folks.  You ever see anything like this, partner?

Stark Tell All:  No sir, partner.  It's like frying catfish!  Sizzle, pop, TIME TO EAT!

Gym Gnat:  Huh?

Racy Wolfson:  They don't pay me enough.  I wonder if I can get an administative job at some college or university.


Next time:  The final game.