On Wednesday, the NCAA released its latest Academic Progress Rates (APR) — an average score meant to show how athletes on each Division I team are making progress toward their degrees.
Men’s basketball, baseball and football teams have been the most likely to face penalties after the first two years of data. That trend held in the third year.
Forty-four percent of Division I men’s basketball teams, 40 percent of football teams and 35 percent of baseball teams would have fallen below the 925 benchmark without accounting for a margin of error.
The ECU men’s basketball team was the only local Division I team in those three major sports that was facing a penalty. The team received a public warning from the NCAA. If it falls below 925 in next year’s numbers, it will lose scholarships.
ECU’s football team also has a score less than 925, but it is not yet facing penalties because the NCAA still is accounting for varying squad sizes and for not having enough data when it calculates APR. This year’s scores were three-year averages.
The third year of Academic Progress Rate data released May 2 by the NCAA show improvement in almost all sports, including football and baseball, two sports that in the past posted rates causing some concern among the membership.
Overall penalties declined as well, from 3.6 percent of teams in both 2003-04 and 2004-05 to 3.3 percent in 2005-06. That percentage drop is due primarily to a decrease of more than 200 so-called â€œ0-for-2s,â€ the student-athletes who earned neither the eligibility nor the retention points. Those are the players teams below the APR cutoff score of 925 cannot replace…
…NCAA President Brand said the next year will be particularly telling for menâ€™s basketball. He said the trend downward in that sport can not be attributed completely to student-athletes who leave early for the NBA for a number of reasons, chiefly that teams are given a break in the APR metric if the student-athlete leaves in good academic standing.
â€œIf thereâ€™s going to be a change in behavior, it has to happen soon. I want to make sure that the basketball community, particularly those who are not seeing a positive trend, have appropriate information and background to improve,â€ Brand said. â€œWeâ€™ve seen some positive stories â€” itâ€™s not everybody moving backward. We just want a greater proportion of teams to be successful.â€
We have reached a critical juncture on the road to academic reform. The NCAA has announced that at least 112 of the more than 6,000 teams in Division I will be subject to penalties for failing to meet minimum team academic performance standards. Many more teams could be affected: the NCAA projects that next year roughly 40 percent of football and menâ€™s basketball teams, and more than a third of baseball teams, could lose scholarships or be subject to other penalties unless they make significant academic progress.
We expect that as more teams are penalized, more pressure will be exerted to weaken the reforms. But these reform measures must be implemented without changes. The NCAA Board of Directors took a courageous step when it created a system that comports with the Knight Commissionâ€™s 2001 recommendation to penalize teams that do not meet reasonable graduation rate standards. The vast majority of athletes are successful academically, but this program is imperative to ensure that college remains the central part of â€˜college sportsâ€™ for all athletes and teams.
Broader look at the conference:
According to the Baltimore Sun, only Virginia and Clemson joined Maryland as having basketball teams in need of improvement. Virginia scored a 917 while Clemson scored 894. Although Clemson dropped below 900, it was not penalized because it scored 936 with the squad-size adjustment.
Duke, UNC and N.C. State’s football and basketball teams each at least met the NCAA standard (925) with Duke football and UNC basketball earning “excelling” marks.
The NCAA is getting tough on academics, and teams from predominantly black colleges and schools in the Hurricane Katrina region are getting hit hardest.
The NCAA’s latest Academic Progress Report, released Wednesday, shows historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) account for about 13 percent of all schools facing potential scholarship losses or receiving warning letters because of poor classroom performance.
Seven Louisiana schools accounted for thirteen of 49 warning letters, which could lead to more punitive actions as early as next year. The schools are Centenary, Grambling, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, Nicholls State and Southern.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the data collected over the last three years might have been skewed by student defections after the hurricane, which could have affected a team’s score….
…No BCS team received a warning letter.
I could not find an explanation of exactly how the APR is calculated. I would like to know how transfers and early exits to the pros are accounted for in the formula. If anyone runs across a link to a coherent explanation, then please post it in the comments.