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By: CUBuffs.com
CU Records Highest NCAA APR Rate For 3rd Year
Release: June 11, 2013
By: CUBuffs.com
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BOULDER — The University of Colorado Academic Progress Rate (APR) report based on information for the four year period between 2008-09 and 2011-12 was released by the NCAA Tuesday with those of all other Division I schools, with CU reporting good news for all 16 of its intercollegiate athletic programs.

For the third consecutive year, the APR rates are the highest in school history since the program was created nine years ago.  In this latest report, the scores of CU’s teams are unparalleled over the history of the APR program, recording an average multi-year score of 979 out of 1000. 

“In my role as Faculty Athletics Representative, I am gratified to see another strong academic performance, as measured by the NCAA’s APR standard,” said Dr. David Clough, CU’s Faculty Athletics Representative after examining the APR scores released for the 2011-12 academic year. “These results, coupled with the improvements in grade-point average, portend high graduation rates in coming years.  We are now approaching a steady level of high performance in APR with normal ups and downs from year to year.  I am most pleased by the dramatic improvement in APR for men’s basketball over the past four years, accompanied by unprecedented competitive successes.  This documents that athletic and academic success can go hand in hand.”

Clough is widely considered one of the nation’s experts on the NCAA’s APR program and its intricacies.

Men’s basketball showed the most improvement in the multi-year score, improving 22 points from 962 (2010-11) to 984 (2011-2012). The team has shown steady progress over the last four years. In 2008-09 the team recorded a score of 897 but then rose to 926 the following year (2009-10). The football program has also continued to improve and increased its multi-year score from 919 (2008-09) to 946 in the most recent report. It is an eight-point improvement from last year’s score of 938. The team has shown steady improvement over the course of the last four reports rising above the new 930 penalty threshold.  

For the ninth consecutive year all of CU’s other 14 programs are in good standing overall, none ever having been subject to any penalties, with seven showing improvement and four teams virtually holding steady in the four-year APR rate from the last report to this one and all with scores of 961 or above.  Three teams did not improve, but those are teams with smaller squad size and are susceptible to such changes with the loss of single retention or eligibility point. Women’s golf had the largest drop going from 1000 to 971.  The four that did not improve had very minor drops; women’s skiing from 966 to 961, men’s golf from 993-987, women’s basketball from 994 to 993 and volleyball stayed at 977.

 “I am extremely gratified at the continued progress of our student-athletes in the classroom,” said CU-boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “I echo professor David Clough’s contention that this progress demonstrates that academic success and athletic achievement are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, our university and our conference prove that every day.”

Overall, three programs earned perfect 1000 scores for the 2011-12 annual report. The women’s cross country team recorded their third consecutive 1000 score, fourth overall since the programs’ inception. Volleyball earned a perfect score for the fourth time overall and women’s basketball recorded its third perfect score.  

That brings the total to 39 times that CU programs have earned a perfect score since the APR came into being.  All one-year scores for all 16 of Colorado’s programs were 941 or above (14 above 964), with football showing the largest increase, jumping 39 points from 930 to 969, followed by women’s volleyball (22 points, 978 to 1000) and women’s basketball (21 points, 979 to 1000). Women’s skiing also showed improvement increasing its score by three points (971 to 974).                                                                                                      

Although the annual average dropped some, it does show consistent improvement in multi-year average over the past four years. There are some drops in annual scores for certain sports where improvement is anticipated next year and beyond.

Though the NCAA doesn’t release data for all sports combined at every institution, Colorado’s overall APR picture is outstanding.  The average APR for all CU student-athletes stands at 977 in the latest report.  The annual figures was 943 in the 2006-07 report, and it has improved each year since, growing to 961, 967, 980 and 989 last year.

Now nine years into the APR report card system, numbers continue to stabilize statistically as program histories take firmer roots.  The NCAA instituted the APR in 2004, with member schools supplying information first for the 2003-04 academic year for an initial look at how schools fared across the country.  The system analyzes a four-year period, thus new data for the most recent year replaces that on the front end of the previous year’s research.

The reporting covered all 16 of CU’s intercollegiate sport programs; team-by-team statistical data (Column A—denotes number of perfect 1000 annual APR scores in program history out of a maximum seven; number in parenthesis is program’s high score if no 1000 scored as of yet; team GPA is cumulative value as of Fall 2012 and is listed for reference but is not strongly correlated with APR):

Program

 

2011-12 APR

Four-Year APR
2008-09 to 2011-12

A

Team GPA
(Cumulative)

Men's Basketball

MBB

979

984

2

2.710

Men’s Cross Country

MXC

983

988

3

2.746

Football

FB

969

946

(962)

2.683

Men's Golf

MGF

949

987

4

2.723

Men's Skiing

MSK

941

964

2

3.544

Men's Indoor Track

MIT

989

978

1

…………

Men's Outdoor Track

MOT

990

983

1

2.665

Women's Basketball

WBB

1000

990

3

2.796

Women's Cross Country

WXC

1000

991

4

3.235

Women's Golf

WGF

964

981

4

2.986

Women's Skiing

WSK

974

961

2

3.269

Women's Soccer

SOC

975

981

1

3.239

Women's Tennis

TEN

966

991

6

3.232

Women's Indoor Track

WIT

976

977

1

…………

Women's Outdoor Track

WOT

977

977

1

3.169

Women's Volleyball

VB

1000

977

4

3.002

THE NCAA APR SYSTEM

While complicated, APR (Academic Progress Rate) can best be described as one that is based on two factors: eligibility/graduation (“E” point) and retention (“R” point).  APR data are only collected for team members on athletically-related financial aid (full or partial scholarships).  The “E” point is earned by maintaining eligibility at the end of a semester; the “R” point is earned by being retained in the following semester.  Thus, each student-athlete accrues 0, 1 or 2 points per semester. 

For example, if a team was comprised of 20 student-athletes on aid, and all 20 were in good academic standing and returned to school the next semester, the team’s semester APR would be 1000 (40 out of a 40 possible points).  The next semester, if two became ineligible, one left school and one stayed, and the other 18 remained in good standing, the semester APR would be 925 (37 of 40).  The team’s APR for the year would thus be 963 (for 77 out of 80 possible points).  To determine an APR score for four years, the total points earned by the team over that period of time is divided by the total points possible and reported as a “batting average” on the basis of 1000. 

Student-athletes who leave the institution and are ineligible cause a loss of two points in the APR calculation.  These are traditionally called “0-for-2’s”. Student-athletes who leave in eligible status lose only one point and are called “1-for-2’s.”  If the latter depart and sign a contract to play their sport professionally, the loss of the “R” point is forgiven.  And, if they transfer to another four-year institution and depart with a cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 2.6, the loss is also forgiven.  In these last two categories, the student-athletes are called “1-for-1’s.”  A student-athlete who leaves eligible, loses the “R” point, and returns in a later year to continue their studies and graduates, achieves a delayed graduation point in the semester they graduate.  And, finally, a student-athlete who is ineligible at the end of a term, but is retained, also loses one point, the “E”, and is also called a “1-for-2.”

The NCAA has established a new penalty threshold of 930 (increased from the current 900) that will transition in over the next two years.  Teams with multiyear scores below this threshold will be subject to ban of postseason competition plus limitations on practice time, length of season and number of competitions.  Thus the penalties above that currently kick in for teams below 900, will transition to 930 by 2014-15. 

NOTE: There is not a precise relationship between APR and subsequent graduation rates, but APR scores in the range of 930 to 940 generally yield graduation rates in the neighborhood of 50% or greater.  APR scores above 960 will usually yield graduation rates of 70% or higher, higher than the norm of the general student population at CU.  These are Federal Graduation Rates (FGR).  The NCAA also tracks a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) that accommodates transfers out of and into the institution and, consequently, is often about 10 percentage points higher than the FGR.

 

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