UConn Men’s Football Team Makes The Grade

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The University of Connecticut football team’s Academic Progress Rate ranks 4th out of 12 teams in the American Athletic Conference for the 2015-2016 season, according to the NCAA.

The NCAA created the Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2003 to measure the eligibility, retention and graduation rates of college sports programs. For a college to be considered well balanced in academics and sports, it must maintain a 930 or higher APR each year. If a college fails to maintain that level, there are penalties.

Where does the UConn football program fall on this scale?

Matt Mancini

For the 2015-2016 season, it scored a 975 rating, according to the NCAA. The highest scoring college football team in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) is the U.S. Naval Academy, scoring a 991. The University of Central Florida was second at 984, and the University of Cincinnati was third at 976. The University of Houston and Tulsa University scored the lowest ranking at 942.

“If you look at what UConn has done recently, football has never been, in terms of APR, never really been an issue for them,” said Desmond Connor, a sportswriter for The Hartford Courant who covered UConn football for years.

Dom Amore, who covers the UConn men’s basketball team for The Courant, has chronicled steps that UConn has taken to improve academic support for athletes.

“Usually if there is a difference in APR scores, the difference comes from the amount of academic support,” Amore said. “The step that UConn took to improve their APR scores was to make sure that they had academic advisors to monitor the students to make sure that they were going to class and doing their homework.”

UConn football does rank well among the others in their conference. “If they’re not at the top of the conference, they’re right there,” Conner said.

The APR scoring system has been in place for 13 years and the NCAA says it has increased standards for the athletes and added consequences for poor performance.

“It really doesn’t speak to what grades everybody is getting or what classes they’re taking,” Amore said. “All it is, is keeping athletes academically eligible and keeping them in the program so you get points for that, but they’re doing a good job.”

Mike Enright, UConn’s senior associate director of athletics/communications, agrees with Amore that APR is only one measure of success.

“The APR is one of many tools we have to determine academic performance and success of our student athletes by sport,” Enright said. “It is a good tool, but also can’t be used in a vacuum. There are many other factors we have to consider ranging from NCAA graduation rates to senior exit interviews we do each year with our student athletes.”

Matt Mancini is a student at Bacon Academy, Colchester.