Rockets land impressive Academic Progress Rate scores

June 3, 2011 | News, UToday
By Paul Helgren

ncaa_secondarycThe NCAA recently released its annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures for the four-year period from 2006-07 to 2009-10, and The University of Toledo received impressive scores, with 14 of 15 UT sports programs finishing above the NCAA’s established “cut point” of 925. Of those 14 sports, 10 improved their APR scores from a year ago.

The UT baseball team earned an APR score of 988 out of 1,000, a score that earned the program a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA for the fourth time in the last five years. Public Recognition Awards are given to programs that rank in the top 10 percent of the nation in their respective sport. Baseball was one of six sports with four-year cumulative APR scores above 980; the others were women’s volleyball (991), women’s soccer (989), women’s swimming (984), softball (983) and women’s golf (980).

“It’s great to see 10 of our sports have higher APR numbers than they did a year ago,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “It’s a sign that we are improving upon our already high standards of academic excellence. A special congratulations should be given to our baseball team for placing in the top 10 percent in the nation for the fourth time in the last five years, and to our women’s volleyball team, which had a near-perfect score of 991.”

Perhaps the most satisfying APR number for Rocket faithful was the 943 score received by the football team, the program’s highest APR score ever and the second consecutive year Head Coach Tim Beckman’s squad has been above the NCAA’s established “cut point” of 925. In addition, football’s one-year APR score for 2009-10 was 981, the highest in school history. Football now has moved its cumulative APR from 892 to 943 in the three years since Beckman took over the program, a leap of 51 points.

“From the first day Tim Beckman became our head football coach, he has made academics and the graduation of his players a top priority,” O’Brien said. “Everyone involved with the football program, from Coach Beckman to our assistant coaches to our academic support staff to the student-athletes themselves, deserves to be applauded.”

Beckman said, “We expect our players to be accountable for themselves in every aspect of their student-athlete experience, from their play on the field to their performance in the classroom to their conduct in the community. We are very pleased with our latest APR score, and we will challenge our players to raise that number even higher next year and in the future.”

APR is a gauge of every team’s academic performance at a given point in time. Points are awarded on a semester-by-semester basis for eligibility, retention and graduation of scholarship student-athletes. A score of 1,000 is considered perfect. Sports that fail to reach the 925 “cut point” can be penalized with the loss of scholarships. The APR data released last week is a cumulative figure taken from the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years.

Seven Rocket sports received perfect 1,000 scores for the 2009-10 school year: men’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s tennis, softball, women’s basketball, women’s golf and women’s swimming.

Men’s basketball, with an APR of 858, was below the 925 cutline. As a result, that program will have 10 scholarships available for the 2011-12 season out of the NCAA maximum of 13. O’Brien said that he is confident that second-year Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk and his staff are taking the necessary steps to improve the academic performance of the men’s basketball program.

“One of the reasons we hired Tod was due to his proven commitment to academic success at UW-Green Bay,” O’Brien said. “We are definitely making progress to solve our APR issue. I am confident that Tod and his staff will get our program back to the point where we are consistently graduating our student-athletes and competing for championships.”

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