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Article:Academic Progress Rates and What They Mean to Your Team

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On Tuesday, May 6, the NCAA released the Academic Progress Rates (APR) information and 123 schools have been cited with scholarship sanctions.

From Wikipedia, “The APR is calculated by allocating points for eligibility and retention -- the two factors that research identifies as the best indicators of graduation. Each player on a given roster earns a maximum of two points per term, one for being academically eligible and one for staying with the institution. A team's APR is the total points of a team's roster at a given time divided by the total points possible. Since this results in a decimal number, the CAP decided to multiply it by 1,000 for ease of reference. Thus, a raw APR score of .925 translates into the 925 that will become the standard terminology.” According to sources, an APR of 925 is equivalent to an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of about 60%. The average APR for all Division I student-athletes is 951-961 for men and 969 for women.


According to NCAA rules, teams that score below 925 on the APR and have a student leave school academically ineligible can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. They can also be penalized for poor academic performance over time. Additionally, historical penalties can be meted out if the APR is under 900 and no improvement is shown.

During the first year of "historical penalties", a program gets a public notice. In the second year, additional restrictions are placed on both scholarships and practice time. Teams that receive three consecutive years of historical penalties (below 900 APR) will also face potential restrictions on post-season competition as well as scholarship and practice restrictions.

Every team posting an APR score below 925 is required to develop a specific academic improvement plan. However, that plan is not subject to NCAA review unless the team has posted an APR of less than 900.

It should be noted that the single-year APR has increased for both football (11 pts) and baseball (12 pts) since the NCAA began gathering the data in 2003-2004. Basketball initially showed a yearly decrease but has bounced back by four points this past year.

Since the the NCAA has only been tracking this data since 2003-04, this marks the second year for "historical penalties” that include restrictions on scholarships and practice time. This year also marks the first time the average eligibility and retention rates both showed increases.

For Division IA football, there are 17 colleges facing scholarship sanctions (Note that the typical scholarship limit is 85).
*Akron - 80
*Buffalo - 83
*Central Michigan University - 83
*Florida Atlantic University - 82
*Florida International University - 82
*University of Hawaii - 84
*University of Idaho - 77
*University of Kansas: 83
*New Mexico State: 82
*University of North Texas: 80
*San Diego State: 79
*San Jose State: 67
*Temple: 81
*University of Toledo: 79
*University of Alabama at Birmingham - 76
*UNLV: 84
*Washington State University – 77

It gets worse when we take a look at the Division IA Men’s Basketball programs where the typical scholarship limit is 13. There are 53 schools affected.
*Arkansas State University - Public notice
*Cal State Northridge - Public notice
*Cal State Sacramento - 12
*Centenary - 12
*Central Connecticut State - 12
*Chicago State - Public notice
*Cleveland State - Public notice
*College of Charleston - 12
*Colorado - Public notice
*Colorado State University - 11
*East Carolina University - 11
*Florida International University - 12
*Fresno State University - 10
*Georgia State - Public notice
*Hampton - 12
*University of Hawaii - 11
*University of Idaho - 12
*University of Illinois-Chicago - 12
*Jacksonville State - 11
*Kansas State University - 12
*Lamar - 11
*Liberty - 11
*Louisiana-Lafayette - Public notice
*Louisiana Tech - 12
*Manhattan - 12
*Mercer - 12
*Morehead State - Public notice
*New Hampshire - 12
*New Mexico University - 12
*New Mexico State - 12
*Norfolk State - Public notice
*University of North Texas - 12
*Portland State - Public notice
*Purdue - 12
*Quinnipiac - 11
*San Francisco - 12
*San Jose State - 11
*Seton Hall - 12
*South Alabama - 12
*South Carolina - 12
*Southeastern Louisiana - Public notice
*Southern Utah - 12
*St. Bonaventure - Public notice
*St. Peter's - 12
*University of Tennessee - 12
*Texas State University - Public notice
*University of Alabama at Birmingham - 11
*UC Santa Barbara - Public notice
*UNC-Greensboro - 12
*USC - 11
*UTEP - 12
*Western Illinois - Public notice
*Wyoming – 12

More research will probably lead to the conclusion that many of the men’s basketball programs under sanction had coaching changes. Coaching changes can be difficult for a school as many players will transfer or leave school rather than be part of the rebuilding project.

Alarmingly, there were several “major” schools facing penalties in 6 sports. They include:
*UAB - football, men's basketball, men's golf, men's soccer, men's tennis, women's basketball
*New Mexico State - baseball, football, men's basketball, men's tennis, women's tennis, women's outdoor track
*San Jose State - baseball, football, men's basketball, men's cross country, men's soccer, women's basketball.

The school facing sanctions in the most sports is Division IAA Sacramento State, which is being penalized in baseball, football, men's basketball, men's golf, men's indoor track, men's outdoor track and women's tennis

The increases in retention and eligibility rates that are mentioned above the lists are indicators of progress, but there is a long way to go. The depth and breadth of the schools under sanction is truly surprising.

I have no brilliant solutions, but I would really like to see colleges get out of the big-time athletics business. They need to return to their roots of student-athletes where the students are truly focused on their education. This writer believes the student-athlete should be the best of the best (and they are in many of the smaller sports). They should not only excel in the classroom, but they should do it while having to dedicate much of their time to their chosen sport.

As for the people that put the sports first? That's what the minor leagues are for. We just need the minor leagues.

Unfortunately, colleges will never voluntarily get out of the sports business as there is entirely too much money in it now.

Sources:, Wikipedia, NCAA

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