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NCAA President Miles Brand

NCAA Academic Report Penalizes Small Schools

May 08, 2008 03:05 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Denis Cummings
The NCAA has released its 2008 Academic Progress Rate report, finding that the majority of underperforming schools are small and lacking in academic support for athletes.

30-Second Summary

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The APR was created in 2005 to hold schools accountable for the academic performances of their athletes by sanctioning those teams that don’t meet certain standards.

The NCAA assigns an APR score based on players staying academically eligible and remaining at the school. A perfect score is 1000; schools that fall under 925, the equivalent of a 50 percent graduation rate, are eligible to receive penalties including postseason bans and loss of scholarships.

This year’s APR, which covers a four-year period between 2003-04 and 2006-07, reported that 493 teams fell below the 925 score. The NCAA issued penalties to 218 teams from 123 schools.

The majority of teams penalized were football, baseball and men’s basketball. “The biggest concern is in men's basketball,” said NCAA President Miles Brand, who has formed a subcommittee to determine how the sport can improve.

Thirty-seven football teams were penalized, but just two—Washington State and Kansas—were from BCS conferences. For many, this illustrates the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Big schools can afford academic support that keeps athletes eligible without necessarily providing a quality education. As a result, many small schools believe the APR has created a “class warfare” that favors big schools.

Most academic reform experts are unconvinced that the APR affects the way in which big-time athletics are run, including David Ridpath of the Drake Group. “People in college athletics are very smart,” he said, “they'll find a way to get around the APR.”

Headline Links: NCAA releases APR

Background: The creation of the APR

Reactions: NCAA looks to fix men’s basketball

Opinion & Analysis: How effective is the APR?

Reference: APR data and academic reform groups

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