May 3, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. -
All 26 athletics programs at the University of Notre Dame exceeded the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate standards -- and nine Irish teams earned perfect 1,000 scores in the third annual set of APR statistics issued today by the NCAA.
The 2007 report released by the NCAA features a three-year compilation of APR data from the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years. The APR uses a series of formulas related to student-athlete retention and eligibility to measure the academic performances of all participants who receive grants-in-aid on every team at every NCAA Division I college and university.
Beginning last year, programs that failed to earn an APR score of 925 or better were barred from replacing a scholarship athlete who left the institution while academically ineligible (scholarship reductions could be taken last year or this year). Programs with chronically poor academic records based upon the eventual, rolling, four-year rate ultimately will be barred from postseason competition, in addition to losing scholarships.
Irish men's programs registered perfect 1,000 scores in cross country, fencing, golf, indoor track and outdoor track -- while women's programs scored 1,000 in fencing, soccer, softball and tennis. Near-perfect scores came in women's lacrosse (997), women's rowing (997), men's hockey (996), men's lacrosse (996), men's swimming (996), women's swimming (994), women's volleyball (993), men's tennis (992) and women's golf (990).
Among Notre Dame's most significant peer group (the NCAA Division I-A football-playing schools), no other institution had more programs post more perfect 1,000 scores than Notre Dame's nine except Boston College with 10 (with the Eagles sponsoring 29 programs compared to Notre Dame's 26). The U.S. Naval Academy, Rice and Stanford each had seven 1,000 scores. Duke had six and Northwestern five.
"These numbers match up consistently with the other graduation data at our disposal and, once again, they indicate that our student-athletes are achieving at a very high level," said Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White.
These most recent multi-year APR numbers indicate nearly all 6,110 Division I teams are meeting or exceeding the benchmarks for academic performance, said NCAA president Myles Brand. Only 112 teams will be sanctioned for poor performance, while 839 teams are being publicly recognized for APRs in the top 10 percent of each sport.
But higher-profile sports such as men's basketball, football and baseball have many teams in danger of sanctions when the NCAA's margin of error, known as the squad-size adjustment, is eliminated next year, Brand added.
"As each year goes by, I am more and more encouraged by how seriously our student-athletes are taking their academic responsibility," Brand said. "But more work is needed, especially when the squad-size adjustments are removed."
According to the most recent data, 44 percent of men's basketball teams, 40 percent of football teams and 35 percent of baseball teams would have posted APRs below 925 and possibly lost scholarships without the squad-size adjustments this year. Brand said APR trends are moving upward for football and baseball but downward slightly for men's basketball because of decreases in basketball retention rates.
Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship student-athlete. An APR of 925 translates to an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of approximately 60 percent.
Teams that score below 925 and have a student fail academically and leave school can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. Known as immediate penalties in the academic reform program, these scholarships can be lost each year and not reawarded until the following year.
The average APR for all Division I student-athletes is 960, according to the latest data, which for most teams is based on three years of academic performance. The average APR for male student-athletes is 950 while the average for female student-athletes is 970.
Men's teams with the highest APRs are fencing (976), followed by gymnastics, ice hockey and water polo (all at 970). Baseball (935), football (931) and basketball (928) posted the lowest average APRs for men's teams.
Women's teams with the highest APRs are crew (984) and field hockey and lacrosse (tied at 983). Women's bowling posted the lowest APR for women's teams at 942.
Historical penalties begin this year as well under the NCAA academic reform program, with public warnings for teams scoring below 900 APR. Continued underperformance could lead to scholarship losses and reductions in practice and playing time when a team posts a 900 APR a second straight year. Third-year historical penalties would restrict postseason competition, and four consecutive years of poor academic performance and APRs below 900 will result in restricted Division I membership for the school's entire athletic department. An APR of 900 translates to a Graduation Success Rate of approximately 45 percent.
Brand stressed teams with APRs below 925 must develop academic improvement plans to address any issues affecting the classroom success of their student-athletes. The NCAA provides educational materials online for institutions to guide them in their planning process, and these materials are distributed to the presidents and chancellors of institutions with teams below the 925 APR cutoff.
Under the academic reform program, the NCAA allows for adjustments to the APR based on whether a student-athlete leaves in good academic standing to play professional sports or for other reasons beyond an institution's control. Teams can also earn bonus points if a student-athlete returns after leaving school and completes his or her degree. In addition, the NCAA grants waivers of scholarship penalties in limited situations based on institutional mission or other extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
APR scores per institution, along with penalties per school and teams receiving public recognition, are available online at ncaa.org.
Today's release follows up on the announcement last Thursday by the NCAA that 839 teams posted multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports. The public recognition awards were part of the broad Division I academic reform effort.
Notre Dame had 11 of its programs honored for the multi-year achievement -- men's basketball, men's cross country, men's fencing, men's golf, men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, women's fencing, women's soccer, women's softball, women's tennis and women's volleyball.
Among Division I football-playing institutions, the only schools that had more programs honored than the 11 by Notre Dame were the U.S. Naval Academy (14), Boston College (12) and Stanford (12). Duke and Rice also had 11 programs honored. Next in line were Northwestern (nine) and North Carolina (seven).