An Important Stat: NCAA Basketball Tourney Teams Often Lose Players

Here's something to ponder during March Madness: The teams that make the NCAA basketball tournament often have high turnover rates, meaning many student athletes don't return - and not the ones graduating or going into the NBA. Read more here.

May 17, 2013

Unexpected Turnover Rates

Many people believe that an athletic scholarship is a 4 year scholarship.  The truth is that the NCAA only allows 1 year scholarships.  At the end of a scholarship year, a coach can take the scholarship away from a player for any reason, including permanent injury.

With this NCAA rule in mind, the NCPA decided to look at the unexpected turnover rate (excluding seniors and draft picks) for some of the best basketball teams in the nation.

Recruits and their parents should factor in turnover rates when considering which school to choose.  The NCPA views this rate as a measure of job security and overall satisfaction for a full scholarship athlete.  With the exception of permanent injury, the NCPA deems reasons for poor turnover rates as a negative reflection on an athletic program.  Coaches that revoke players’ scholarships, poor academic support, low team moral, and players whose standards and expectations are not met are all possible reasons for poor turnover rates.

Turnover rates do not explain the reasons for why players are vanishing from so many rosters.  It’s up to universities to explain the “whys” to recruits and there parents.  As you look at the list below, take notes on which teams seem to be getting it right, and those that are not.

View a side by side roster comparison for each team included in the study.

The NCPA compared the 2007-08 rosters with the 2008-09 rosters for every team that entered the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  With the exception of Northern Iowa, the information for all 2007-08 rosters were taken from the NCAA.  All 2008-09 rosters were taken from each school’s web site.  Players listed as transfers were identified as transfers on, but because does not have all transfers listed, overall transfer numbers are somewhat unclear.

2009 NCAA Tournament Teams Only

TOTAL MISSING PLAYERS: 169 (out of 775 possible returners)