For the second year in a row, the University of Arizona football team showed improvement in the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate report.
The Wildcats fell one point below the NCAA’s minimum score of 925, or a 50 percent graduation rate – and were ninth in the Pac-10, only ahead of Washington State (918). But because UA showed significant improvement from last year (902), the Cats were not penalized.
In 2007 and 2006, UA lost a total of six football scholarships because of poor APR reports.
All the other Arizona teams performed higher than 925 – including the men’s indoor track program (938), which lost one scholarship this season because of a score of 921 last year.
No Pac-10 teams were penalized this season.
The scores are calculated based on data from the fall semester in 2004 through the spring semester in 2008. Each athlete receives one point per semester for remaining academically eligible and another point each semester for remaining at that school or graduating.
A mathematical formula is used to correlate a final team score, with 1,000 points being perfect. Teams that fall below 925 annually can be subjected to immediate penalties.
Across the nation, the overall four-year Division I APR increased three points to 964. And the overall scores in baseball, football and men’s basketball all showed improvement over the 2003-04 numbers.
Centenary’s men’s basketball team and Tennessee-Chattanooga’s football squad, however, didn’t make the grade with the NCAA and it cost them a chance to compete for a national championship next season.
Those teams became the first to be banned from postseason play because of poor APR scores. Jacksonville State’s football team, which is appealing a postseason ban, could join them. A decision is expected within six weeks.
NCAA president Myles Brand said Wednesday’s announcement sends a message to the nation’s college teams: Repeatedly failing to make grades comes at a heavy cost.
“I think it is a watershed because it shows the depth and severity of the penalties for schools that cannot come into compliance with academic performance,” Brand said during a conference call. “Think back as a mode of comparison to when we have recruiting infractions, and we withhold them from postseason play, that’s a big deal.”
Next year, schools with four straight years of poor scores could face the NCAA’s most severe penalty – restricted Division I membership for the entire athletic department.
Ten schools were cited in both football and men’s basketball but only two – Alabama-Birmingham and New Mexico State – play in college football’s top level. UAB was the only school in major football to receive a reduction in practice times in both sports.
The SEC led the six biggest conferences with five teams penalized. Mississippi and Minnesota were the only BCS schools sanctioned in football.
McNeese State led all schools with eight teams sanctioned, while Nicholls State was next with six.
LATEST UA ACADEMIC PROGRESS REPORT SCORES
(925 is minimum)
Cross country 1,000
Track (indoor) 938
Track (outdoor) 939
Cross country 965
Track (indoor) 953
Track (outdoor) 949
HOW UA COMPARES
Football Men’s hoops
Stanford 984 968
California 970 944
USC 956 906
Washington 954 956
UCLA 948 968
ASU 945 930
Oregon 935 975
Oregon State 930 936
Arizona 924 949
Washington St. 918 946
By Citizen Staff Report, Wire Report