Money buys victory in new NCAA bracket

By Drew Singer

‘ ‘ ‘ Pitt can’t get past the Sweet 16, even when basketball has nothing to do with it. ‘ ‘ ‘ … ‘ ‘ ‘ Pitt can’t get past the Sweet 16, even when basketball has nothing to do with it. ‘ ‘ ‘ PayScale, a company that maintains employee salary records, filled out an NCAA Tournament bracket based not on each team’s talent, but by comparing the salaries of each school’s graduates. ‘ ‘ ‘ While Pitt’s median graduate salary of $66,800 got the Panthers past East Tennessee State and Tennessee in the first two games, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Wisconsin Badgers’ $72,800 in the Sweet 16 round of the Tournament. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Salary is always important,’ said Barbara Juliussen, associate director of Pitt’s Career Development Office. ‘It’s a fact of life that you have to be able to support yourself.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Four of the other six Big East teams in the Tournament reported higher salaries than Pitt. All other schools in the conference were eliminated before the Sweet 16, except for Villanova, whose $85,600 median salary caused the school to lose to Duke in the same round as Pitt. ‘ ‘ ‘ In a 2008 publication, Pitt compared itself to other prestigious schools, citing its high-achieving students and alumni. ‘ ‘ ‘ Pitt, claiming both Rhodes and Marshall scholars in 2007, put itself in the same category as Cornell ($91,000), Duke ($102,000) and Washington University ($74,900), among other institutions that didn’t make the NCAA Tournament. ‘ ‘ ‘ But PayScale still reported that there was a significant salary disparity between Pitt and the other schools on the list. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I really can’t think of anything they’re doing that we don’t to prepare our students,’ said Juliussen. ‘I think we are doing as much if not more than other universities.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Juliussen said that Pitt’s recent decision to transform its Career Services office into the Student Employment and Placement Office and the Career Development Office is a testament to Pitt’s effort to improve. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘That really demonstrates how the chancellor and the other decision makers at Pitt really put an emphasis on career development and being competitive in the job market,’ she said. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I don’t think there’s another university that has both services working together like this,’ said Juliussen. ‘I’m very confident that we are reaching the students and providing the services they need.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Duke’s six-figure median salary won its PayScale’s bracket, but the Panthers might have a chance to prove the company wrong. If it defeats Xavier Thursday night, Pitt’s basketball team will face the winner of the Villanova-Duke contest in the Elite Eight. ‘ ‘ ‘