Wednesday, May 7, 2008

MWPRInsight: Evidence of why "The Playbook" initiative is timely

It's academic: NCAA reveals APR sanctions
Steve Megargee is a national writer for

Seventeen Division I-A football programs face penalties for failing to graduate enough players, the NCAA announced Tuesday with the release of its Academic Progress Rates.

Orange Bowl champion Kansas and Washington State were the only programs from "Big Six" conferences to face penalties. Other schools facing penalties for football were Akron, UAB, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Hawaii, Idaho, UNLV, New Mexico State, North Texas, San Diego State, San Jose State, Temple and Toledo.

The list of major programs facing penalties is longer in men's basketball. Colorado, Kansas State, Purdue, Seton Hall, South Carolina, USC and Tennessee were among the 53 Division I programs cited.

A total of 218 teams at 123 schools will be sanctioned for poor performance, NCAA president Myles Brand said. Another 712 teams were publicly recognized last month for APRs in the top 10 percent of each sport.

Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year. The APR is based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each student-athlete on scholarship. An APR of 925 equates to an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of about 60 percent.

The average APR for all Division I student-athletes is 961 – 951 for males and 969 for females. This year marked the first time the average eligibility and retention rates both showed increases.

"Overall, there is much to be encouraged about with the latest data," Brand said. "When we started four years ago, baseball and football were in serious trouble. There has been great improvement in both of those sports.

"We are not out of the woods, however. There are individual institutions that have seen steady decline in APR over the last four years. The situation is dire for them."

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. Teams also can be subject to penalties for poor academic performance over time.

The majority of basketball programs facing penalties recently had coaching changes. Coaching changes can be problematic for a school's APR, particularly with the transfers that can result.

No school faces penalties in more sports than Sacramento State, which was cited in baseball, football, men's basketball, men's golf, men's indoor track, men's outdoor track and women's tennis. The Hornets are a I-AA football program.

Schools facing penalties in six sports included 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) and San Jose State (baseball, football, men's basketball, men's cross country, men's soccer, women's basketball).

The single-year APR has increased 12 points for baseball and 11 points for football since 2003-04, when the NCAA began collecting data on this issue. The APR for men's basketball declined each of the past two years before increasing four points this year.

This is the second year for "historical penalties." Second-year sanctions include restrictions on scholarships and practice time. Starting next year, teams that receive three consecutive years of historical penalties (below 900 APR) face the potential of restrictions on postseason competition in addition to scholarship and practice restrictions.

Every program posting an APR score below 925 is required to develop a specific academic improvement plan. Teams posting APR scores below 900 must submit their plans to the NCAA for review.

Steve can be reached at

Link to article: College Football - It's academic: NCAA reveals APR sanctions

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