The NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate report suffocates us with numbers. Multi-year averages, single-season rates, percentile ranks and public-private breakdowns.
But as postseason bans for programs nationally (Connecticut men’s basketball), regionally (Towson and UNC Wilmington men’s basketball) and locally (Hampton University football) show, the numbers carry consequences and are worth perusing.
Multi-year rates below 900 trigger penalties, but in 2014-15 that minimum becomes 930. A perfect APR is 1,000.
The APR considers athletes’ retention and eligibility. The calculation is explained here.
Given those parameters, here are some observations culled from the database the NCAA posted with the latest, 2010-11, APRs on Wednesday:
* All of Virginia Tech’s programs boast four-year averages of at least 968, meaning none remotely approaches trouble. Football scored the lowest but still is far above the national Bowl Subdivision norm of 952. Moreover, the 968 average (No. 7 in the ACC) and 981 single-season rate are all-time bests for Frank Beamer’s program.
Similarly, James Johnson inherits an academically accomplished men’s basketball program from deposed coach Seth Greenberg. The Hokies’ 976 multi-year rate ranks third among ACC men’s basketball teams behind Duke and Miami.
But Tech’s 2010-11 basketball rate of 942 was a marked drop after two consecutive years of a perfect 1,000.
* Virginia men’s basketball improved dramatically in 2010-11 with a 1,000 APR on the heels of an 833. Still, the program’s four-year average is 939, below the Division I norm of 950 and tied for 10th in the ACC.
With a 944 multi-year score, Cavaliers football is 10 points below the Bowl Subdivision average and No. 8 in the ACC. Every other Virginia program is 959 or better.
* More than half of William and Mary’s 23 teams, 12 to be precise, posted 1,000s in 2010-11. And all have a four-year average of at least 965.
Jimmye Laycock’s football program has a multi-year score of 976, far beyond the national average of 944 in the Championship Subdivision. The 976 ranks third among Colonial Athletic Association football programs behind New Hampshire’s 981 and Maine’s 977.
Similarly, Tony Shaver’s men’s basketball team is third in the CAA at 974, behind Hofstra’s 979 and George Mason’s 975.
* Conversely, Old Dominion football and women’s basketball lag far behind their CAA colleagues.
Football’s multi-year average is 917. Massachusetts is next-to-last at 935.
Women’s basketball’s is 910. George Mason’s 948 is next-to-last. ODU’s 910 is the third-lowest among 342 Division I programs nationally, ahead of only Savannah State’s 907 and Texas Southern’s 901.
The Lady Monarchs were even worse in 2010-11, with an 891. All of these numbers were compiled under former coach Wendy Larry, leaving her successor, Karen Barefoot, with plenty of work.
* The 881 four-year average that makes Hampton University football ineligible for the 2012 playoff ranks tied for 240th nationally among 243 Division I programs. Only North Carolina A&T’s 880 and Texas Southern’s 811 are lower.
But five Pirates teams had perfect 1,000s in 2010-11: men’s tennis, women’s bowling, women’s cross country, women’s golf and women’s volleyball. Men’s tennis needed that 1,000 to raise its multi-year average to 900, the cutline for sanctions.
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