When it comes to Division-I athletic programs, the NCAA is demanding higher and better performances each year in the classroom. This past June, the NCAA passed a new set of rules about the Academic Progress Rates (APR) of students playing Division-I athletics. To qualify for the 2012-13 playoffs and championships, each team must have a minimum 900 four-year APR or a 930 average over two years. For the 2014-15 season, teams must earn a four-year average of at least 930 or an average of at least 940 in the two most recent years. And for the 2015-16 season, teams must earn a four-year APR of at least 940. Each Division-I team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility, graduation and retention of each scholarship athlete, the NCAA said. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face consequences, such as practice restrictions and restrictions on postseason competition.
Through the years the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams have dominated their respective sports by winning multiple national championships. But when it comes to academics, the women have been far superior to the men. When the UConn men’s basketball team begins play in the American Athletic Conference this season, it will once again be eligible for post-season play. That’s because the team’s 2011-12 Academic Progress Rate, or APR – the NCAA’s measurement of academic and graduation success – was 947 out of 1,000, giving the program two consecutive years with good scores and meeting the NCAA requirements. With a two-year average APR of 964, the men’s team, which had been banned from postseason play in 2013 for a low APR, surpassed the NCAA’s two-year standard of 930. Only a handful of college basketball teams have been able to keep the consistent perfect score of 1,000.
There were 11 Division I colleges with perfect Academic Progress Rates in the 2010-2011 seasons. Of those, only Butler University, the University of Kansas and Notre Dame had any NCAA tournament success. Some people might think that players on high-performing teams would have lower grades, but statistics show otherwise. The average APR score for the Associated Press top five teams was 956.6 in 2010-2011. The average rate for the bottom five teams was 964.2. That means there was only a slight difference between the top five and bottom five.
A review of Academic Progress Rates among the men’s basketball teams in Connecticut has found that the University of Hartford had the best rate: of 990 in 2010-2011. Yale University was second best at 984. Quinnipiac University’s rate of 968 was third best, followed by Sacred Heart University at 961. Central Connecticut State University was at 956 and Fairfield was at 955. At 897, UConn’s rate was the lowest in the state – so low that it was banned from NCAA postseason play in 2013. This year, schools must be at 940 to avoid penalties.
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