NCCU blames sub-par APR on transfers

May. 23, 2014 @ 05:32 PM

The Academic Progress Rate for both the football and women’s basketball teams at N.C. Central are below NCAA standards because coaching changes in those programs led to the transfers of student-athletes, said Kyle Serba, NCCU’s associate athletics director for media relations.

The APR is touted as a way to determine whether players receiving sports-related financial aid are hitting the books both as much and as well as they’re hitting the gyms and ball fields, each player earning one point per semester by remaining academically eligible and another point each semester for being enrolled in school.

A team’s total points from its players are divided by the total possible points and multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s APR. For example, a football team with 85 players on scholarship could get as many as 170 possible points if each of those players gets his two points for being both enrolled and academically eligible.

In the most recent APR figures that include multi-year rates based on scores between the 2009-10 and the 2012-13 academic years, NCCU’s football team scored 914; women’s basketball, 923; men’s cross-country, 925; men’s outdoor track, 910; men’s tennis, 901; men’s golf, 917; men’s indoor track, 896. All of those scores are below the NCAA’s acceptable threshold of 930, that number meaning half of a team’s players have been graduating.

Teams participating in 2014-15 championships must have earned either a 930 four-year APR average or a 940 average over the most recent two years.

No NCCU teams are facing NCAA sanctions right now, Serba said.

NCCU’s football team has had two coaches in the past few years, which resulted in players leaving the program, Serba said.

“Sometimes the vision of the new coach doesn’t fit in with the athletes,” Serba said.

Former NCCU football coach Henry Frazier III, hired in 2010, was fired in August 2013 because issues in his personal life were negatively impacting the team, NCCU athletics director Ingrid Wicker-McCree said.

In December 2013, Wicker-McCree hired Jerry Mack to become head coach of NCCU’s football team. Mack previously coached the wide receivers at the University of South Alabama.

The 2013-14 season was the second year at the helm for NCCU women’s basketball coach Vanessa Taylor, who returned only two of eight players from the prior season. The Lady Eagles had 10 new players last season.

The NCAA dings teams when eligible players transfer without earning 2.6 grade-point averages. Each student-athlete in that category costs a retention point to the team he or she departed.

NCCU joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as a Division I school in 2011. NCCU’s move to Division I has led to more academic-support programs, which should boost APR scores at the school, Serba said.

NCCU’s men’s basketball team earned a 933 APR score during the 2009-10 to 2012-13 academic years. But for the 2012-13 academic year alone, the team’s APR was 1,000. That’s a perfect score and means that every player on the team remained eligible and stayed in school or graduated during the year the data was collected.