Gonzaga Scores High In Latest NCAA Academic Progress Report

            SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University had six teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards as the NCAA recognized 976 Division I sports for exceptional work in the classroom as part of the NCAA's Academic Performance Program (APP).

            Women's golf earned its eighth straight NCAA Public Recognition Award in as many years of the award, making Gonzaga one of 61 schools with at least one program recognized inception of the annual recognition. Women's cross country, women's outdoor track, men's soccer and volleyball were also recognized this year. Men's soccer received its fifth straight award. In the history of the awards, 43 Bulldog teams have been recognized with eight teams earning the honor in both 2004-05, the first year of the award, and 2008-09.

            Based on their most recent multiyear Academic Progress Rates (APR), 976 teams earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards, up from 954 teams last year. The awards are given annually to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with their APRs.

           The 976 teams publicly recognized for high achievement represent 594 women’s teams and 382 men’s or mixed squads.

            Top performing APRs this year ranged from 978 to a perfect 1,000, with the majority of teams earning a perfect APR. The number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on the number of perfect scores.

            In addition, student-athletes across Division I increased or maintained academic success across all sports, according to the latest NCAA Academic Progress Rates.

            The most recent four-year Division I APR is 974, up one point over last year. The average four-year rate also rose two points in men’s and women’s basketball, while the rates held steady in baseball and football.

            All 17 of Gonzaga's sports included in the report (men's rowing is not a NCAA championship sport while indoor track and outdoor track each count as separate sports) were above the NCAA multi-year average of 974. Gonzaga's multi-year average of 994 includes all 17 sports, but in making comparisons with the 13 WCC-sponsored championship sports Gonzaga’s APR of 992 was the highest among the nine West Coast Conference schools. The WCC had a multi-year average of 982.

            "Our numbers were outstanding last year and were even better this year which reflects the fine balance our student-athletes are able to achieve between academics and athletics,” Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said. "Women's golf is to be commended for continuing their streak of perfection."

            NCAA President Mark Emmert noted that 10 years after its creation, the APR continues to encourage student-athletes to succeed in the classroom and campuses to support them in their education.

            “These are strong and meaningful academic standards, and we are pleased to witness the continued improvement of student-athletes’ academic performance,” Emmert said. “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.”

            Nine NCAA national champions from the 2012-13 season are included in this year’s award list: Indiana University Men’s Soccer; University of Louisville Men’s Basketball; Yale University Men’s Ice Hockey; University of Georgia Women’s Swimming, University of Oregon Women’s Indoor Track, University of Alabama Men’s Golf; Duke University Men’s Lacrosse; University of Texas Women’s Volleyball; and University of Michigan Men’s Gymnastics. BCS National Champions University of Alabama football is recognized this year as well.

            A total of 268 schools, out of 346 Division I colleges and universities, placed at least one team on the top APR list.

            Dartmouth College had the most teams (25) recognized, followed by Brown University (20) and Bucknell University (19).

            In 2012, 954 teams were recognized.

            Each year, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I team through the annual scorecard of academic achievement, known as APR. The rate measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or quarter and provides a clear picture of the academic performance in each sport. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-2012 academic years.

            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 number of student-athletes who left school while ineligible has decreased significantly each year since the APR began and is now at an all-time low. Over the past nine years, the rate of baseball, men’s basketball and football student-athletes who have left campus while ineligible has been roughly cut in half. Only 2.1 percent of all student-athletes represented in the 2011-12 data left school while academically ineligible.

            Further, more than 11,500 student-athletes have returned to campus and earned their degrees since the creation of APR. Of these student-athletes, approximately half competed in the high-profile sports of baseball, men’s basketball, football and women’s basketball.

            “The former student-athletes who have returned to school and completed their degree are a powerful testament to the value of education,” said Emmert. “Graduation is the goal, and I commend each and every one of these former athletes for celebrating the ‘student’ in ‘student-athlete.’”

            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. The same standard was in place for the 2012-13 academic year. This standard will increase to a multi-year 930, which predicts to a Graduation Success Rate of approximately 50 percent, or a 940 two-year average APR for the 2014-15 postseason. To assist limited-resource institutions, the board gave these schools and their teams more flexibility to meet the standards.

            The NCAA also has worked closely with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as they continue to improve the academic performance of their student-athletes. These institutions cultivated a 15-point increase over the last two years, up from 932 to 947, and saw significant gains in the retention and eligibility of their student-athletes.

            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.”

            To ensure fairness, the NCAA provides APR adjustments for student-athletes who transfer with certain grade-point averages and those who leave in good academic standing for professional athletics careers. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on the scores from the 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years.

            APR scores per institution, along with penalties per school and teams receiving public recognition, are available online through the NCAA's searchable database or clicking here.

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