BERKELEY (CBS 5) — The NBA draft was held Thursday night, but the dream of being drafted is distant for most athletes who play college ball.

Nationwide, African-American basketball players are 28 percent less likely to graduate than their white counterparts.

And at the University of California, Berkeley, the numbers are even worse. In the last report of the Federal Graduation rate, the Cal men’s basketball team graduated zero percent of its African-American athletes. The federal statistic tracks players who start freshmen year and graduate from the same university within six years.

“It goes to this issue of whether college football and men’s basketball…have equal access to education when they are working what amounts to a full-time job,” said Robert Southall, who studies athletes’ academic success at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Southhall believes a full-time schedule of school combined with sports is an untenable situation for most college athletes. He recommends that the NCAA allow student-athletes to reduce their academic course load.

But no matter the course load, the graduation rates remain low and officials at UC Berkeley are not making any excuses.

“Zero is a bad number. You should have kids that come to school with the idea of graduating,” said Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery.

But Montgomery adds the mindset of many of his players is not about getting a degree but going pro. “If you are going to win at the highest level, you are going to recruit kids that are probably, at least in their minds, looking to play in the NBA,” he said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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