Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
7 UA teams earn high marks in APR
Former Arkansas golfer Maria Fassi is shown during the Augusta National Women's Amateur golf tournament on Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. Fassi is among the golfers whose academic scores helped Arkansas' women's team earn public recognition from the NCAA for the 2018-19 school year. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
FAYETTEVILLE — Seven University of Arkansas women’s teams earned public recognition from the NCAA on Tuesday for their scores in the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR).
The Razorbacks’ softball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, volleyball and women’s tennis, golf and cross country teams earned the honor, which is based on scoring in the top 10 percent nationally in APR.
All seven teams received a perfect multi-year score of 1,000 in APR, which in the latest reporting period takes into account the 2015-16 through 2018-19 academic years.
It was at least the second consecutive public recognition award for all programs but swimming and diving. The women’s golf team has earned public recognition seven years in a row and in 11 of 15 years since the NCAA introduced APR scores. The Razorbacks’ women’s tennis team has earned the honor three straight years.
The seven public recognitions are a record for the Razorbacks, breaking the previous record of six teams last year. At least one UA program has earned public recognition in 14 of 15 years.
APR is one of two calculations - the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) released each fall is the other - the NCAA uses to monitor the overall academic performance by athletes at each school.
Programs are assessed two APR scores each year - a multi-year score that is a reflection of the last four reporting periods, and a single-year score that is a reflection of the most recent completed academic year.
In APR, each athlete receiving athletics-related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible each semester, for a total of four possible points per athlete, per year. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s APR score.
For instance, a men's basketball team with 13 scholarship athletes could have up to 52 possible points in a single year. If that team's single-year retention and eligibility scores total 50, its single-year APR score would be 962.
Multi-year scores are the average of four single-year scores.
APR scores can be negatively affected by athletes who drop out or transfer and are not in good academic standing. Programs are not penalized for athletes who opt to pursue a professional career, so long as they are in good academic standing when they are enrolled in classes. Transfers who leave with a 2.6 GPA and are enrolled at another four-year university by the following semester do not hurt the APR score.
The NCAA’s full APR report is expected next week. Penalties, including loss of scholarships and postseason bans, can be assessed for multiple years below the NCAA's benchmark score of 930 in APR.
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