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Towson hoops docked practice time because of APR, but will be eligible for postseason

Towson’s men’s basketball team — which was barred from the last postseason — will be permitted to play in the 2014 postseason but will be docked practice time because the program hasn’t yet reached academic goals, the NCAA said Tuesday.

No other Division I teams in Maryland were among the 36 nationally to be penalized in 2013-14 for falling below academic standards.

The University of Maryland football team improved its Academic Progress Rate score from from 931 to 937. The scores — released every spring — are averaged over four years. The most recent figures are for the four academic years beginning in 2008-09.

The APR is a measure of whether athletes are on track to graduate. Teams that average at least 900 over the past four years — or at least 930 over the past two — retain postseason eligibility. Athletes earn points by returning to their schools, staying eligible or graduating.

In 2011, the NCAA stripped the Terps of three football scholarships because of poor academic performance before current coach Randy Edsall arrived.

Maryland said in a prepared statement on Tuesday that the football team has “continued to make strides since 2009-10 when the multiyear score was 922.”

The NCAA said the Terps’ men’s and women’s basketball teams posted multiyear scores on Tuesday of 948 and 950, respectively, Men’s basketball was down from the previous year’s 970 but above the five years before that. Women’s basketball was down slightly from 956 a year ago.

Towson says it has improved its academic support services and that 19 of its 20 teams earned scores above 930. Women’s soccer and cross country got perfect scores of 1,000.

At 871, Towson’s men’s basketball fell below the cutoff. But the school said the Tigers will be eligible for postseason play because it has a plan in place to remedy previous failures.

Towson released a statement touting its “strong academic services staff” and declaring that it “has had the [men’s basketball] ban lifted and the Tigers will be eligible for post-season play again in 2014.”

The school declined further comment. It has had an interim athletic director since Mike Waddell left last month to become a senior associate athletic director at Arkansas. Men’s basketball finished 18-13 last season after going 1-31 the year before that.

The NCAA said Towson men's basketball will face “Level One” penalties next season, meaning it will lose four hours of practice time per week and must fit the practices into five days. Teams are normally allotted 20 hours per week.  “That [lost practice] time must be replaced with academic activities,” the NCAA said in a news release.



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