NCAA releases three-year APR data
Just 112 teams punished, but trouble looms for 2008
Posted: Wednesday May 2, 2007 4:52PM; Updated: Wednesday May 2, 2007 5:01PM
On Wednesday, the NCAA released its three-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) data, in which only 112 of 6,100 Division I sports teams lost scholarships or were publicly sanctioned for failing to meet acceptable standards. But officials warned that significantly more teams in the major sports could be in trouble next year.
According to the data, 44 percent of men's basketball teams, 40 percent of football teams and 35 percent of baseball teams had three-year APR scores below the 925 cut under which schools can be penalized. But many avoided sanctions due to "squad-size adjustments," the NCAA's margin-of-error factor. Beginning next year, when the NCAA will for the first time have four years of data for each school, squad-size adjustments will be eliminated, putting any team below 925 in danger.
In the data released Wednesday, 63 teams -- including 12 Division I-A football teams and 12 Division I men's basketball teams -- received "immediate" penalties, which consist of scholarship reductions up to 10 percent of a team's allotment. A team that fell below the acceptable score and had at least one athlete leave school while academically ineligible cannot replace that athlete's scholarship. Certain teams that fell below the acceptable score but showed significant improvement from the previous year -- most notably Temple's football team, which lost the maximum nine scholarships last year -- were granted a reprieve.
Also, 31 teams (including 18 from the aforementioned group) that scored a 900 or below and failed to show improvement from the previous year were put on "public notice" as part of the NCAA's first wave of more serious "historical" penalties. Beginning next year, teams that score 900 or below over a four-year period will be subject to scholarship losses and reductions in practice and playing time. Third-year historical penalties (in 2009) would restrict postseason competition, and four consecutive years of poor academic performance and APRs below 900 would result in restricted Division I membership for the school's entire athletic department.
NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon and other NCAA officials consistently have said they don't want it to reach that point.
"Our hope is that they will make improvement and not be subject to those penalties," Lennon said. "We're trying to work with each school individually."
Predominantly black colleges and schools in the Hurricane Katrina region were hit the hardest by the NCAA's report. 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.
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