Division I sports teams are performing well in the classroom, but some
academic challenges remain, the latest NCAA APR data show.
The most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates indicate nearly all
6,110 Division I teams are meeting or exceeding the benchmarks for
academic performance, said NCAA President Myles Brand. Only 112 teams
will be sanctioned for poor performance, while 839 teams are being
publicly recognized for APRs in the top 10 percent of each sport.
higher-profile sports such as men’s basketball, football and baseball
have many teams in danger of sanctions when the NCAA’s margin of error,
known as the squad-size adjustment, is eliminated next year, Brand
“As each year goes
by, I am more and more encouraged by how seriously our student-athletes
are taking their academic responsibility,” Brand said. “But more work
is needed, especially when the squad-size adjustments are removed.”
According to the most recent data, 44 percent of men’s basketball
teams, 40 percent of football teams and 35 percent of baseball teams
would have posted APRs below 925 and possibly lost scholarships without
the squad-size adjustments this year.
Brand said APR trends are moving upward for football and baseball but
downward slightly for men’s basketball because of decreases in
basketball retention rates.
Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year,
based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship
student-athlete. An APR of 925 translates to an NCAA Graduation Success
Rate of approximately 60 percent.
Teams that score below 925 and have a student fail academically and
leave school can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. Known as
immediate penalties in the academic reform program, these scholarships
can be lost each year and not reawarded until the following year.
The average APR for all Division I student-athletes is 960, according
to the latest data, which for most teams is based on three years of
academic performance. The average APR for male student-athletes is 950
while the average for female student-athletes is 970.
Men’s teams with the highest APRs are fencing (976), followed by
gymnastics, ice hockey and water polo (all at 970). Baseball (935),
football (931) and basketball (928) posted the lowest average APRs for
teams with the highest APRs are crew (984) and field hockey and
lacrosse (tied at 983). Women’s bowling posted the lowest APR for
women’s teams at 942.
penalties begin this year as well under the NCAA academic reform
program, with public warnings for teams scoring below 900 APR.
Continued underperformance could lead to scholarship losses and
reductions in practice and playing time when a team posts a 900 APR a
second straight year. Third-year historical penalties would restrict
postseason competition, and four consecutive years of poor academic
performance and APRs below 900 will result in restricted Division I
membership for the school’s entire athletic department. An APR of 900
translates to a Graduation Success Rate of approximately 45 percent.
Brand stressed teams with APRs below 925 must develop academic
improvement plans to address any issues affecting the classroom success
of their student-athletes. The NCAA provides educational materials
online for institutions to guide them in their planning process, and
these materials are distributed to the presidents and chancellors of
institutions with teams below the 925 APR cutoff.
pledged the support of the NCAA national office to assist colleges and
universities and their teams in the creation and implementation of
their academic improvement plans.
“The goal of academic reform is to improve classroom performance and
graduate all of our student-athletes,” Brand said. “Teams not doing
well academically need to begin devising strategies for improvement
Harrison, president of the University of Hartford and chair of the
NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance, urged Division I college
presidents and chancellors to carefully review their institution’s APR
is critical that our presidents and chancellors, who provided the
important leadership for academic reform, are aware of the performance
of each team on their campus so they can work with their athletic
directors and coaches to assist those that are underperforming,”
Haney, executive director of the National Association of Basketball
Coaches, expressed his organization's strong support for academic
reform. He added the importance of academic performance was
specifically discussed at the NABC's annual convention held in
conjunction withthe 2007 Men's Final Four in Atlanta.
“The NABC and its members are strongly committed to the academic
success of every basketball student-athlete,” Haney said. “It is very
important to the health of the game and our student-athletes that
coaches improve the performance of our basketball players in the
Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association,
emphasized his members’ dedication to the academic well-being of
Division I football student-athletes.
a small percentage of Division I football players ever get the chance
to play their sport as professionals, so it vital that they maintain
their obligations as college students while enjoying the privilege of
competing in college sports,” Teaff said.
the academic reform program, the NCAA allows for adjustments to the APR
based on whether a student-athlete leaves in good academic standing to
play professional sports or for other reasons beyond an institution’s
control. Teams can also earn bonus points if a student-athlete returns
after leaving school and completes his or her degree. In addition, the
NCAA grants waivers of scholarship penalties in limited situations
based on institutional mission or other extenuating circumstances on a
scores per institution, along with penalties per school and teams
receiving public recognition, are available online at ncaa.org.