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Academic results sub par in Big 12

Brand issues warning after disappointing results for Division I sports programs.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2008

More than half of Division I schools were caught napping in class, and it showed when report cards came out.

Now, punishments might be right around the corner.

When the NCAA released its report card-style Academic Performance Rate on Monday, 183 of 326 Division I schools had at least one sport that failed to meet the standard score of 925, including every school in the Big 12.

Volleyball, with a score of 827, was the lone MU sport that was significantly sub-standard. MU sports received an average score of 943.

That’s good for fourth in the Big 12, but that’s not saying much.

The Big 12 was the lone Division I conference in which no school met standards in every sport. Five Big 12 schools have one program that did not meet standards.

In comparison, the Atlantic Coast and Big Ten Conferences both had seven of 11 schools with all sports passing, and the Big East had six of 12. The Pacific 10 and Southeastern Conferences both had two schools with all passing marks.

Baylor has the highest average APR of any school in the Big 12 at 960.

Five sports at Texas A&M received failing grades, including football, baseball and men’s basketball, and Texas Tech had the lowest average score of any school at 911.

Sports that failed will be warned this year, but if they don’t raise their score to the vicinity of 925 by the time next year’s reports are released, they will be subject to punishments.

Initial penalties will be the loss of a scholarship for each “0-for-2” athlete in any sport that falls significantly below 925. An 0-for-2 athlete is one who was not academically eligible in a given semester and did not return to school.

“(Schools) need to take this as a serious warning,” NCAA president Myles Brand said. “They need to ensure that student-athletes have every opportunity to graduate.”

Penalties will be assessed beginning next year and will be based on academic data from the school years of 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. Eventually, the NCAA will use four years’ worth of data for penalties.

The NCAA also said that if sports don’t shape up after receiving initial penalties, they could be subject to more serious penalties, including bans from postseason play and prohibition from participating in NCAA events.

The more serious penalties would be imposed starting in 2007.

Bryan Maggard, MU’s associate athletic director for academic services, said MU had 20 athletes that were 0-for-2 last year, but only one of those would result in a scholarship loss if penalties were assessed this year.

Several concerns about side effects of the new system popped up Monday, one involving recruiting. Brand said the penalties weren’t meant to dissuade coaches from recruiting athletes who might become an academic or retention problem.

“There is opportunity for risks provided you provide the tutorial the student needs and encourage students and parents from the beginning that he will have to do college work,” Brand said.

Another concern raised at MU was the possibility of sports cheating in the classroom to earn APR points, especially after the fallout of the Ricky Clemons saga.

But Maggard said he didn’t think that would be an issue.

“Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t think so,” he said. “I think academic integrity is held to a higher standard now than ever before.”


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