NCAA Releases APR Scores

From the N&O:

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 “0-for-2s,” 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 men’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.

“If there’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,” Brand said. “We’ve seen some positive stories — it’s not everybody moving backward. We just want a greater proportion of teams to be successful.”

Knight Commission Responds:

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 men’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 Commission’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 ‘college sports’ 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.

CBS Sportsline (not from Doyel):

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.

Here is NC State’s APR for all sports.

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.

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

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34 Responses to NCAA Releases APR Scores

  1. packbackr04 05/03/2007 at 10:22 AM #

    way to go ECU, way to go

  2. RickJ 05/03/2007 at 10:27 AM #

    At first glance, this looks like a pretty good report for NC State in an area where we have struggled some in the past. Currently, every sport we fund is clear of the 925 benchmark with a range of 937 for wrestling and 991 for golf. An APR score of 1,000 is a perfect score. There are only two sports – men’s swimming and tennis that have scores lower that the average for all of Division 1.

  3. RickJ 05/03/2007 at 10:44 AM #

    Basic description of how APR is calculated:

    “The APR is a key component of the NCAA’s academic reform structure, which is designed to ultimately improve graduation rates for student-athletes. Under the APR formula, each scholarship student-athlete is scored each semester, receiving one point for remaining academically eligible and one point for being retained. One point is deducted for each student-athlete who is not academically eligible, and one point is deducted for each student-athlete who leaves school for any reason, including academic status, transfer to another institution or pursuit of a professional career.”

    Having players leave early for professional careers does hurt your APR because you lose the point for retention. The absolute killer on the APR is when an athlete not only leaves your school early for any reason but drops out in the middle of a semester thereby costing you 2 points in the calculation.

    I remember an interview with Rick Barnes regarding Kevin Durant during the season that illustrated the point – Barnes noted that in his discussions with Durant during his recruitment he stated that he could live with Durant leaving after his freshman year if it made sense but that he wanted his word that he would finish the second semester of his freshman year and not kill the Texas APR. I am assuming Durant is keeping his word on this.

  4. VaWolf82 05/03/2007 at 11:04 AM #

    I don’t understand the logic in penalizing schools just because kids leave.

    I also don’t understand how adding and subtracting “points” is converted into a “900” number.

  5. redfred2 05/03/2007 at 11:05 AM #

    “men’s swimming and tennis that have scores lower that the average for all of Division 1.”

    What did you expect, those swimmer’s and tennis players…they’re always thugs anyway.

  6. VaWolf82 05/03/2007 at 11:29 AM #

    Maybe I’m just overly critical today, but the Knight Commission is either full of hypocrites or idiots. They are “concerned” about graduation rates. Why? Are they worried about the athletes or are they worried about the way that the NCAA and the schools are perceived?

    If they were truly worried about the athletes, then they would also be concerned about the majors and curriculums that serve no purpose other than keeping athletes eligible. What purpose does it serve to hang a diploma on your wall, if it isn’t of any value in the job market?

  7. TNCSU 05/03/2007 at 12:28 PM #

    The NCAA is less worried about the individual athlete, they are more worried about college athletics (not athletes). They would like for all athletes to be student athletes, but they could care less what the degree is in. Of course, they do love to tout the 3.9 in Engineering – as they should. An individual gets the freedom to choose their own major — if they want to major in something that will not help them get a job (although easier) that is their choice. You can’t dictate majors, but you can dictate requirements, etc. Again, the reason they are concerned about graduation rates has less to do with what happens to those that don’t graduate, and more to do with the perception of the NCAA when those “student-athletes” don’t graduate.

  8. BoKnowsNCS71 05/03/2007 at 12:39 PM #

    I tend to be more forgiving. The knight Commission is honestly trying to do good and that is never easy. They want to assure the student-athlete is both of those things — not just some athletic kid that comes wins games and then leaves an illiterate.

    So they set up some criteria and keep finding out that it has to be tweaked yearly because the landscape keeps changing. NBA says no entry until 1 year after school so some kids go to school for one year with no intent to ever graduate.

    If they ever get it right, it should help penalize a school with a good coach who cares only about winning and whose popularity soars with the alums and donors to the point that the adminstration has no control (e.g. Jerry Tarkanian in his day maybe?).

    NCAA penaltes can hurt the coach’s ability to win and also provides at least some benchmarks for the administration to set in a contract or to use to terminate the coach.

    I think the intent is well meaning but not necessarily hitting on all cylinders just yet. Maybe in time it will.

  9. RickJ 05/03/2007 at 12:39 PM #

    “I also don’t understand how adding and subtracting “points” is converted into a “900″ number”.

    APR scores are reported as a whole number that is the raw APR score multiplied by one thousand. For example, a raw APR of .925 becomes a final APR score of 925.

    A real simplified example – think of 1 athlete in any sport that starts as a freshman in the fall semester. The school gets 1 point if he completes that semester in good standing and another point for returning for the second semester. He is 2 for 2 and thus his raw APR score is 1.0. You multiply this by 1,000 and get an APR of 1,000. If he doesn’t return for the second semester for any reason he is 1 or 2 and has a raw APR score of .5 and a final APR of 500. The team score comes from adding up all of the figures.

    VaWolf – I agree with everything you are saying about the BS involved in this but I do think the APR system is better than just looking at graduation rates.

  10. noah 05/03/2007 at 12:59 PM #

    “What purpose does it serve to hang a diploma on your wall, if it isn’t of any value in the job market?”

    There are plenty of jobs that just want you to have *A* degree. Any degree will do. No, it doesn’t make you tremendously marketable. But a guy with a degree in speech communications is probably better off than a guy with two years of Civil Engineering and then dropped out.

    I’m always surprised by it…but the number of people whose jobs and degrees have NOTHING to do with one another is always staggeringly high (to me).

  11. TNCSU 05/03/2007 at 1:02 PM #

    I’m always surprised by it…but the number of people whose jobs and degrees have NOTHING to do with one another is always staggeringly high (to me).

    ^^^Hey, I resemble that remark! — and I agree!

  12. noah 05/03/2007 at 1:12 PM #

    I kinda wonder if anyone will put the “good news” for UNC together with this article:

  13. packbackr04 05/03/2007 at 1:17 PM #

    TNCSU^ i couldnt get that rivals article about Baciou. but what are the 2 schools he is looking at?

    has Tracy Smith been to class yet and can he finally sign or what?

  14. noah 05/03/2007 at 1:19 PM #

    Davidson is, I think, one of them…

  15. redfred2 05/03/2007 at 1:28 PM #

    The new “AI” grading scale. Huh, Allen Iverson will be proud. New sponsor’s and logo’s on notebooks, pencils, and the like. Academics been very, very good to AI.

  16. VaWolf82 05/03/2007 at 1:54 PM #

    The Faculty Council is scheduled to vote today on whether the university should adopt a second measure along with the traditional grade point average. It’s called the Achievement Index, and it would be a supplemental score added to a student’s transcript. The “AI,” as it’s known around campus, would be calculated through a statistical model that compares a student’s performance with that of other students at the university.

    Grading on a curve is silly and so is the AI. I’ve always thought that the grade you receive for the class should be representative of how much of the subject matter you could prove that you absorbed.

    For example, in math, there is only one correct answer for a given problem. If you get the right answer….then you should get full credit. Why should it matter how many other people also got the right answer.

    Oh well, nothing that we are going to change here.

  17. noah 05/03/2007 at 1:56 PM #

    I think the question is more towards the teacher in that scenario, VaWolf. The question becomes, “Why are you asking questions that all of your students know?”

    I guess you could answer, “It’s just that I’m such a damn good teacher!”

    But yeah, a little more complex than we can get into here.

  18. Dr. BadgerPack 05/03/2007 at 2:28 PM #

    VaWolf- I can’t speak for the broad spectrum of college instructors, but as for myself and several of my peers, we “curve” such that a C represents acceptable knowledge of the material and an A is truly excellent work. I challenge the heck out of my students, and if I didn’t apply a curve, people who know what the American Chemical Society says you need to know about organic would get Ds. With the curve, I can be exceptionally demanding in many of my test questions and get true separation between As and Bs based on mastery of the material. This comes in very handy when folks come by asking for med school recommendations and aides in determining the strength of the letter.

    Unfortunately, I know plenty of professors who curve to a B so that their evaluations give them a better shot at tenure.

  19. TNCSU 05/03/2007 at 2:39 PM #

    ^^TNCSU^ i couldnt get that rivals article about Baciou. but what are the 2 schools he is looking at?

    Sorry to skip around, but Rivals has Clemson and South Carolina has “High” and all the other as Medium, while has Davidson as the only “High” and all the others Medium. That’s all that I know — I have no “inside” scoop at this point — either way, The Pack is not “High” on his list on either site.

  20. Lunatic Fringe 05/03/2007 at 2:40 PM #

    You guys see this ruling by the NCAA for baseball based on the APR rankings and scholarships?

    See Link:

    A couple big changes are being implemented by NCAA that will have a major impact on baseball programs. The thing I don’t understand is why the NCAA is requiring higher standards of performance, but than limits the number of kids on scholarships to 27 (note: 35 players can be on a team and most programs try to spread the aid as evenly as possible among most of those players).

    The NCAA took it one step further by requiring that all kids who are on scholarship get at least 33%; therefore, limiting the coach’s ability to offer some kids that are borderline for aid. A kid who is a “project” who was only worth 20% in a coach’s mind will now have fewer opportunities for financial aid at all. The “projects” are typically the players who stay in school longer and thus progress farther towards their degree.

    One more thing, the teams that routinely produce players that get drafted early will now be in jeopardy of a lower APR that will reduce the number of games they play in a season. I really do not mind the APR rule provided the kids have enough financial aid to make staying in school a viable option, but simple finances dictate that most kids when given the choice will pick the opportunity to make money than pay money to play baseball.

    One side note: The 18 person board that devised this ruling only had 3 members that were actually college baseball coaches.

    Jack Leggett (Clemson Coach) has some great comments at this link on the topic:

  21. TNCSU 05/03/2007 at 3:11 PM #

    My, how things have changed. My Dad coached at Davidson for 20 years. He was the Head Coach in Baseball and had one scholarship — you read it right, ONE baseball scholarship at Davidson. So not only did you need to be smart enough to get it, athletic enough to make the team, you also had to be pretty well off in order to pay the tuition (Davidson ain’t cheap!) – since it was doubtful you’d be the ONE getting a scholarship. He still had a difficult time getting the administration to allow many players (not scholarship) that were considered “borderline” had they not played baseball. Many players that the Davidson administrators would not allow at Davidson went on to great careers at Wake, Clemson, USC, UNC, State, etc. What was “borderline” THEN at Davidson would be considered Academic All-American these days. Most of his ex-players are now successful Doctors, Bankers, Dentists, Lawyers, etc., Needless to say, the constant battle with administrators greatly influenced his decision to leave coaching. College athletics is MUCH more of a business…and sadly, in many sports, student athletes are less student and more athlete.

    On the note about inflated grades, curves, etc., I think a good solution would be to just make a definitive “cut” at a certain point. I.e. only 40% can receive A’s, only 30% B’s, and that leaves the bottom 30% for C-F. Hey, in the real world, not EVERYONE can get promoted — how do you distinguish the creme of the crop? The military had this problem for years and went to the same type of system for performance reports. Some didn’t like it, but there was no way to distinguish the best performers since they all were receiving 5.0’s. Now all individuals are graded on an “average” and only a certain percentage (~20%) can be put in the TOP promotable category. Overall, it has worked well.

  22. Pack92 05/03/2007 at 3:19 PM #

    I was amazed that Mike Gaski from UNC-G was on the committee to recommend these rules. My father-in-law worked some with Mike when he first came to UNC-G and MIKE knows what it means to REALLY struggle while building a program from nothing. Very few schools truly support baseball and Mike did a great job building a really decent program at UNC-G (I watched them kill us this year). These rules really limit the long-shot players that Mike has used to get his program going.
    What these rules really do is illustrate, once again, the NCAA “head-in-the-sand” when it comes to what truly goes on in athletics. How can you penalize a school that lets a Trot Nixon play for one year? It ignores the fact that pro baseball has a developmental league whereas you have to be good enough to make the jump in football or basketball. Can you even be on a 1/3 scholarship in football?

  23. noah 05/03/2007 at 3:31 PM #

    “How can you penalize a school that lets a Trot Nixon play for one year?”

    I missed something there. In baseball, once you enroll, you couldn’t be drafted for three years.

    And yes, I think some schools have partials in football. Not every program is fully-funded.

  24. GoldenChain 05/03/2007 at 3:32 PM #

    I’m looking all over the net and cannot find the whole list of the 112 D-1 schools.
    Does anyone have a link, if the paper knows the scores for the individual schools there has to be a public list.
    I’m wondering how the entire ACC stacks up.

  25. VaWolf82 05/03/2007 at 3:33 PM #

    I suspect that the Knight Commission will get on the surface most of what they want…..the appearance of student-athletes progressing towards a degree. I doubt very seriously that they will actually improve the number of student-athletes that obtain meaningful degrees and a start towards a successful career outside of sports. My fear is that colleges will meet the APR requirements simply by instituting degrees that give the students absolutely no marketable skills. Or worse yet, I guess university-wide grade inflation like UNC is another way to meet the APR requirements.

    I have absolutely nothing against PE degrees. High schools all over the country need PE teachers, driver’s ed teachers, and coaches for their various sports. The fact that a PE degree is “easier” than an engineering degree means absolutely nothing. The key point is whether or not the degree can lead to gainful employment beyond the NBA/NFL/MLB etc.

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