INDIANAPOLIS - The University of Dayton Division of Athletics has traditionally been one of the top academic performers in the nation and that was backed once again by the NCAA on Wednesday with the release of the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) reports.
Nine different Flyer athletics teams have multi-year APR scores of 990 (out of a perfect APR of 1000) -- women's basketball, women's cross country, men's golf, women's golf, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis, indoor track and outdoor track (women's basketball, men's golf and women's golf have perfect scores).
In addition, four other teams have perfect single-year APR scores for the 2008-09 academic year -- men's cross country, men's soccer, softball and volleyball.
Three UD programs -- women's basketball, men's golf and women's golf – have the top APR scores in their respective conferences, while two more – men’s basketball and football – have the second-best.
Nationally, eight Flyer teams are in the top 12 percent of APR scores in their sports. They are men's basketball, women's basketball, football, men's golf, women's golf, women's soccer, indoor track and outdoor track.
All 21 of the sports sponsored by the Atlantic 10 Conference (including all 15 sports UD participates in) have APR’s higher than the national conference average.
“Division I student-athletes and their teams continue to make steady academic progress,” said NCAA Interim President Jim Isch. “The report cards keep getting better and better for nearly all teams and all schools.”
The overall multi-year Division I APR is 967, up three points from last year. In the high-profile sports, football’s average four-year APR is 944, up five points over last year; men’s basketball is 940, up seven points; and baseball is 954, up eight points.
Each Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility and retention of each scholarship student-athlete. Teams scoring below 925 out of 1,000 can face penalties, such as scholarship losses and restrictions on practice and competition. Rates are based on the past four years’ performance.
With better report cards come fewer demerits. This year, 137 teams at 80 schools have been penalized for poor academic performance. Last year, 177 teams at 107 schools received penalties, and two years ago 213 teams at 123 schools were sanctioned. There are currently more than 6,400 teams in Division I.
In addition, the APR data over time reveal a number of positive trends.
While the four-year Division I APR rose three points compared to last year’s multi-year rate, the overall single-year rate has jumped 12 points to 973 compared to six years ago. The overall single-year retention rate has climbed 15 points to 969 and the eligibility rate has risen eight points to 973.
Even when considering the recent APR adjustment that allows certain student-athletes to transfer without penalty, the single-year APR has risen eight points over the past six years and the retention rate has risen five points.
The most recent APR scores are multi-year rates based on the scores from the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years.
APR scores per institution, along with penalties per school and teams receiving public recognition, are available online at www.ncaa.org.
Across the NCAA, the overall four-year Division I Academic Progress Rate is up three points to 964, and the number of student-athletes earning neither the retention nor the eligibility point (“0-for-2s”) continues to decline.
Those highlights in the fifth year of APR data appear to be the product of a confluence of rule changes that began in 2003 – including increased progress-toward-degree benchmarks, greater core-course requirements and more stringent standards for transfers.
“This is very positive information,” said Walter Harrison, chair of the Committee on Academic Performance and president of the University of Hartford. “We should all take great satisfaction that a lot of work over a lot of years by a lot of people has resulted in the increased academic performance of student-athletes. Nothing happens overnight; it happens gradually.”
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 projects to an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of approximately 60 percent.
Teams that score below 925 and have a student leave school academically ineligible can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. Known as immediate penalties, these scholarships can be lost each year and not awarded until the following year. Teams can also be subject to historical penalties for poor academic performance over time.
Overall, the last data demonstrates that the single-year APR of Division I student-athletes rose to 971, with increases in both eligibility and retention and a continued decrease in the number of student-athletes leaving school while academically ineligible (0-for-2s). The number of 0-for-2s has declined from 3.6 percent of the total student-athlete cohort in 2003-04 to only 2.6 percent in the 2007-08 data collection year (910 student-athletes).
Eligibility rates rose two points, while retention was up nearly six. The addition of the policy allowing student-athletes meeting a specific academic profile to transfer without losing the retention point elevated APRs, but even when that adjustment is removed, retention still rose four points in the last five years.
APR data for every NCAA Division I institution can be found at www.ncaa.org.