While sports fanatics across the nation fill out their NCAA tournament brackets in anticipation of the most competitive college basketball match-ups of the year, Inside Higher Ed has a bracket for the nerdier crowd. Rather than choose teams based on their defense skills to determine which school will sweep March Madness, those who can’t stand the bar fights and sloppy high fives that take place during a game can instead debate with their friends the academic merit of each college that made the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday.

For the ninth year in a row, Inside Higher Ed unveiled its annual academic tournament, offering bragging rights to the fans of teams who, while talented on the court, also know how to hit the books hard.

To determine the winners, the site looked to the Academic Progress Rate, which, if you don’t know, is the NCAA’s “multiyear measure of a team’s classroom performance (in this case, from 2008-12),” reports Inside Higher Ed. But if two teams tie, which apparently happens quite often, then the publication turns to the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate, which calculates the proportion of athletes that appear to be on the road to graduate within a span of six years.

Then, if all else fails and there’s a tie once again, Inside Higher Ed resorts to the Federal Graduation Rate. It’s what the government uses to keep track of graduation rates.

The Federal Graduation Rate did end up having to be used this year after all with the tournament coming down to two teams in the Sweet 16 with perfect Academic Progress Rates and Graduation Success Rates – Dayton and Kansas. To find out how other schools faired, though, you’re going to have to check out Inside Higher Ed‘s bracket below.

You’ll find that one D.C.-area school actually made it all the way to the Final Four. As for whether that will actually happen on the court, well, I doubt it, but at least one local college has its educational background to boast for the year.


Images via Richard Masoner/FlickrInside Higher Ed