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Team unaffected by low NCAA APR score

Posted by Jeff Nusser on May 6, 2008

The NCAA made some waves today when it released its yearly report on Annual Progress Rates — a four-year rolling rate designed to measure both retention of athletes and their progress toward a degree. Despite having one of the lowest APRs in the WSU athletic department, the basketball team avoided the penalties that befell the football team.

I found the low figure of 903 curious, given the reputation the Bennetts have for commitment to academic excellence. As it turns out, the only reason the number stands as high as it does is because the Bennetts are so awesome: The figure in Dick Bennett’s first season was abysmally low — 813, more than 100 points below the NCAA’s accepted standard of 925 — thanks to the remnants of the Paul Graham era. In the past three years, the team has posted scores of 938, 923 and 942, and will presumably rise safely above that 925 figure next year, making any future conversation about scholarship losses moot.

The team escaped penalty this year because all of the players who left the program in 2006-07, either through transfer or exhausted eligibility, were on track to graduate.

The only basketball team in the Pac-10 to lose scholarships was USC, which the Los Angeles Times reports was due to Lodrick Stewart, Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt not attending classes after the end of last season.

Honestly, that’s where I think this NCAA program gets it right. There’s got to be some accountability for players not interested in making progress toward graduation and for institutions who don’t make sure they are interested. This relatively new system, which is only just now fully taking shape, is infinitely better than the antiquated graduation rate system, which was the epitome of how statistics can be skewed to say just about anything you want.

But this APR system also underscores the continuing gap between the haves and the have-nots in the NCAA.

Consider: Of the 53 men’s basketball programs to receive sanctions, only six are teams from BCS conferences — USC, Kansas State, Purdue, Seton Hall, Colorado and South Carolina. BCS schools make up roughly 20 percent of all Division I basketball schools, yet comprised only 11 percent of sanctions.

Is it because BCS schools have a premium on academically committed athletes? Or could it be because they generally have far more resources at their disposal, such as small armies of tutors and counselors, to “ensure” students stay on track for graduation?

Just some food for thought.

4 Responses to “Team unaffected by low NCAA APR score”

  1. Longball said

    This is an excellent program. The NCAA does not need to be used and abused as a free minor league system for the NBA and NFL. Kids who have no intention of getting an education do not belong in college (for free!!!) at all. Hopefuly this will make recruiting STUDENT athletes at least a small part of division 1 sports.

  2. Longball said

    Any validity to the rumors that Abercrombie is leaving the team to go back to New Zealand?

  3. Nuss said

    I don’t know of anything substantiated, but as I wrote in this comment a while back, it wouldn’t come as a shock.

  4. Ptowncoug said

    C’mon Longball. Now your starting rumors. Longball = self defeatism as Coug fan. Tommy isn’t going to go anywhere. How do I know, well I am the eternal coug optimist as everyone knows.
    Hey look at our baseball program, we are always last, but we do have an overall winning record!

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