“Hallelujah,” Rose said with a chuckle. “That’s my first reaction.”
The Pirates’ football team saw sanctions lifted in the wake of the most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) data revealed Tuesday by the NCAA.
Hampton U. football registered a 901 for the four-year period ending in 2011-12 — a 20-point jump from last year’s score. The APR is a formula used by the NCAA to track eligibility and retention, year by year.
The Pirates’ APR score last year was its third consecutive substandard performance and triggered sanctions that included a one-day-per-week limit on practice time and postseason ineligibility.
“It will be tremendous,” Rose said. “Knowing mentally that you’re clear and you have no sanctions, I think it’s great for the guys. It’s great for their attitude and work ethic, and I think it’s going to continue to rise. It’s a monumental thing for the guys. Most of the guys that were here, they weren’t part of that. It feels good that we continue to rise. We’ve still got some work to do, but it’s a great momentum-changer for the guys.”
The majority of area Division I teams met or exceeded APR standards. William and Mary’s 23 programs had an average score of 985, and four teams scored a perfect 1,000. A score of 925 represents approximately a 50-percent graduation rate.
All of Old Dominion’s athletic teams exceeded APR standards, and athletic director Wood Selig said that 11 of 18 programs had collective grade-point averages above 3.0.
“It’s a reflection of the academic commitment expressed by the head coaches and the academic support staff,” Selig said, “that we continue to make positive academic strides and we continue to make strides with all of our 18 programs.”
Virginia had 13 teams score above 990, including perfect scores in men’s and women’s golf. The football team scored 959, while men’s basketball’s four-year average was 946.
Virginia Tech had two teams with perfect multi-year scores — men’s cross country and golf — and four above 990. Football (970) had its highest multi-year score since the APR was introduced, and men’s basketball (981) was fourth-best in the ACC.
Teams must earn a minimum 900 score over four years or a 930 score over two years to be eligible for postseason. Those standards will increase over the next two years.
Norfolk State’s men’s indoor and outdoor track teams are ineligible for postseason next year due to poor scores. The Spartans’ women’s indoor and outdoor track and volleyball teams were hit with practice limitations for substandard scores.
NSU athletic director Marty Miller pointed out that several members of the track team left before graduating, which impacted the most recent APR numbers.
The Spartans’ football team (864) avoided penalties because the NCAA grants a waiver for institutions with athletic budgets in the bottom 15 percent of Division I, provided the team has a graduation rate above 50 percent.
HU’s 3-7 football record last season, its worst as a Division I program, coincided with NCAA penalties that limited the Pirates to four days and 16 hours of practice per week and made them ineligible for postseason.
“Deep down inside, it had an effect,” Rose said, “but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. I think now that we go forward and we use that as a learning experience. I think it will make them stronger, wiser, and will make them think before they act.”
“They were cognizant of their status and everybody worked together to make sure that they did the correct things and we could move forward academically,” HU athletic director Novelle Dickenson said. “We’re all elated about the progress that’s been made and we do intend to maintain and sustain that progress and even get better.”
Indeed, though the Pirates’ football program made a significant jump, its 901 score remains below the threshold that draws NCAA scrutiny. With future postseason participation hinging on scores of 930 and above, more work remains.
“I think we’re going in the right direction, and I think we’re going to increase every year,” Rose said. “That’s our goal. … There’s a lot of folks I can thank, but it’s not over and we want to continue to improve.”