Two Golden Eagle teams receive Public Recognition Awards from NCAA

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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the second consecutive year, Tennessee Tech’s softball and women’s golf teams are among those who received Public Recognition Awards Wednesday from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for top academic performance.

The awards are given to teams scoring in the Top 10 percent nationally in the Multi-Year Academic Progress Rate (APR), which is part of the NCAA’s academic reform program.

“We take a great deal of pride in the academic success of all our teams, and especially this latest news of the Public Recognition Awards for softball and women’s golf,” said Mark Wilson, TTU Director of Athletics.

“It verifies, once again, that we are successfully fulfilling our mission toward our student-athletes, and it speaks to the diligence of our student-athletes,” he said. “Our students are coming in better prepared when they enter Tennessee Tech, and they are staying on track to earn their degrees.”

Golden Eagle softball coach Bonnie Bynum said the goals of the softball program remain lofty, both on the field and in the classroom.

“I am excited to learn that softball has won the APR Public Recognition award,” she said. “It's a testament to how hard our kids work year round. Coach (Tory) Acheson put a high emphasis on academics, and I look forward to continuing that reputation for our softball program in the years to come.”

Golf coach Polk Brown echoed Bynum’s thoughts.

“The girls on the team work very hard on and off the course, but they place the highest importance on what they do in the classroom which is reflected in them receiving this award for the second consecutive year,” Brown said. “I am very, very proud of them, and they embody what the term ‘student-athlete’ is all about.” 

The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester or quarter by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes eligibility, retention and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.

The APR awards two points each term to student-athletes who meet academic eligibility standards and who remain with the institution. A team's APR is the total points earned by the team at a given time divided by the total points possible, multiplied by 1,000. It includes four years (this year's numbers included the school years of 2008-09 and 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12). High-performing teams receiving public recognition awards posted APR scores ranging from 978 to a perfect 1,000.

This year 976 teams (594 women's teams, 382 men's or mixed teams) were publicly recognized for high academic achievement. In all, 268 institutions (out of 346 Division I schools) placed at least one team on the list. Last year 954 teams were recognized.

“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.”

Twenty-three (23) Ohio Valley Conference teams were among those who received Public Recognition Awards. The 23 awards are the most awards the league has earned in the eight-year history of the awards, eclipsing the 22 honors earned in 2004-05. In total, eight different OVC member institutions earned at least one award, the same number as a year ago.

In addition to the two Golden Eagle squads, OVC teams honored include seven from Belmont (baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, women's golf, women's soccer, men's tennis and women's tennis), four from SIUE (men's cross country, softball, women's soccer and women's tennis), three each from Eastern Illinois (men's golf, women's golf and women's tennis) and Morehead State (women's tennis, women's outdoor track and field and volleyball), two from Murray State (women's basketball and men's golf), and one apiece from Austin Peay (women's golf) and Jacksonville State (women's tennis).

Multi-year APR scores for all Division I sports teams, including the teams receiving public recognition awards, will be announced on June 11. That announcement will also include immediate and historical penalties for low-performing teams.