Duke paces ACC in latest APR scores

Jun. 11, 2013 @ 10:11 PM

More Duke athletic teams recorded perfect multi-year Academic Progress Rate scores during four school years ending in 2011-12 than any other ACC school.

The latest NCAA APR records, released Tuesday, showed that 10 Duke teams scored perfect scores of 1,000 during the four combined school years.  

That left Duke tops in the ACC, edging out Boston College (nine) for league supremacy in the category.

Included among the high-achievers in the classroom were five men’s and five women’s teams from Duke. The men’s teams were golf, swimming, indoor track, outdoor track and wrestling. The women’s teams were fencing, golf, lacrosse, rowing and volleyball.

North Carolina had four teams with perfect APR scores covering the last four years – all women’s sports (fencing, golf, gymnastics and volleyball).

For the 2011-12 school year alone, Duke had 16 sports with perfect scores of 1,000 while UNC had 13. Duke’s teams with perfect scores included its men’s basketball and football teams.

N.C. Central had three teams with 1,000: baseball, men’s golf and men’s tennis.

UNC’s overall strong academic year came while a football scandal involving improper benefits and academic misconduct continued to unfold.

The Tar Heel football team lost its coach when Butch Davis was fired just prior to the 2011-12 school year’s beginning. The next day, athletics director Dick Baddour announced his retirement.

During that school year, UNC’s football team logged an APR of 933, which fell short of the Division I football average of 949. The football team’s multi-year APR of 934 was fifth-worst among all BCS-level programs.

Duke’s multi-year APR in football was an ACC-best 989. The Blue Devils’ men’s basketball team also led the ACC in multi-year APR with 995.

The Blue Devils’ volleyball team, under head coach Jolene Nagel, recorded a perfect single-year score for the fifth consecutive school year. Coach Joe Sagula’s volleyball team at UNC has recorded 1,000 APR scores in the last four school years.

Nationwide, the APR average for all sports increased to 974. Over the last five years, sports that have seen significant increases included men’s basketball (+12), women’s track (+11), men’s track (+9), women’s basketball (+7) and football (+6).

“These are strong and meaningful academic standards, and we are pleased to witness the continued improvement of student-athletes’ academic performance,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “The NCAA and its member schools believe in supporting success both on and off the playing field. As educators, we must continue to embrace our role in providing the necessary skills to continue this high achievement.”

Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility, graduation and retention of each scholarship student-athlete. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face consequences, such as practice restrictions and restrictions on postseason competition. Rates are based on the past four years’ performance.

In the NCAA’s high profile sports, the average four-year APR for men’s basketball is 952, up two points from last year. Women’s basketball is up two points to 972, while football and baseball remained steady at 949 and 965 respectively.

The NCAA has begun penalizing teams for poor APR performance. Last year, for example, Connecticut’s men’s basketball team was banned from the NCAA Tournament because of its low APR score. In order to compete in the 2013-14 postseason, teams must achieve a 900 multi-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years.

N.C. Central’s men’s basketball team recorded an 885 for the 2011-12 school year and a multi-year APR of 903 but avoided penalties.

According to the latest APR figures, 18 teams will not have access to the 2013-14 postseason, compared with 15 teams during 2012-13. In total, 36 teams with APRs below 900 are facing consequences next season, including restrictions on practice and regular season competition, and other sanctions.

“The end game with all academic-centered efforts, from the eligibility standards to the APR scorecard, is to ensure student-athletes are ultimately prepared for the game of life,” said Walter Harrison, chair of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) and president of the University of Hartford. “With a proper focus on education, students can be prepared for life beyond the classroom and their college or university.”