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June 11, 2013

NCAA Report: All 14 Tech teams comfortably achieve APR standards


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – All 14 Tennessee Tech athletic teams comfortably exceeded the standard for the multi-year Athletic Progress Rate (APR), announced Tuesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Five of Tech’s 14 teams had perfect one-year rates of 1,000, and 10 of Tech’s 14 teams ranked among the top five schools in the Ohio Valley Conference. Compared to all programs nationwide, the Golden Eagle football team ranks in the top 25 percent of all Division I football teams, the softball program is in the top five percent and the women's golf team ranks in the top one percent.

“These are extremely positive numbers,” said Mark Wilson, Director of Athletics. “We take a great deal of pride in the academic success of all our teams, and these APR rates verify, once again, that we are successfully fulfilling our mission toward our student-athletes.

“Success in our APR numbers speaks to the diligence of our student-athletes,” Wilson said. “Our students are coming in better prepared when they enter Tennessee Tech, and they are staying on track to earn their degrees.”

The five Golden Eagle teams which achieved perfect scores for the most recent year in the report, 2011-12, are men’s cross country and tennis, women’s golf, soccer an volleyball.

In the multi-year rates, the women’s golf team tied for the highest APR in the OVC at 1,000, matching Austin Peay and Eastern Illinois. The softball (997), men's basketball (966) and football (964) teams all ranked second in the OVC. Ranking fourth in the OVC were the soccer and baseball teams, while the tennis, volleyball, indoor track and outdoor track all ranked fifth among OVC schools.

“These kinds of APR numbers continue to point out that our student-athletes and our staff continue to take seriously our goal of stressing the importance of academic success,” Wilson said. “Our coaches, our academic support system and personnel, and our student-athletes are doing a good job.”

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.

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.”

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.’”