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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Men’s basketball 1 of 3 KU athletic programs to earn perfect multiyear academic honors

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles as he listens to forward Mario Little's senior speech following the Jayhawks' 64-51 win over Texas A&M on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles as he listens to forward Mario Little's senior speech following the Jayhawks' 64-51 win over Texas A&M on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Already known for its place at the top of the school’s athletic mountain, the Kansas University men’s basketball program continues to carry the torch for the academic side of the university’s athletics department, as well.

Tuesday morning, the NCAA and KU released the most recent Academic Progress Rate numbers and revealed that head coach Bill Self’s squad was one of six programs at KU that delivered a perfect APR score of 1,000 during the 2009-10 school year.

What’s more, the men’s basketball program, known for being a perennial Final Four contender, was one of three KU programs (along with men’s and women’s cross country) to hold down a perfect score in the multiyear category, which tracks a team’s academic progress from the past four seasons, in this case, 2006-07 through 2009-10.

“It’s just a measure of how much men’s basketball and these other staffs pay attention and concentrate and prioritize these factors,” associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said. “We aim to be the best on the field and in the classroom and, in that case, we are.”

Many have wondered whether Josh Selby’s departure from the men’s basketball program — the freshman guard declared for the NBA Draft last month — would hurt the team’s academic status. KU’s associate athletic director for student support, Paul Buskirk, said the NCAA, which introduced the APR system in 2003-04 as a way to enhance each institution’s measure of academic success, provides universities with a list of scenarios that are exempt from harming the score. Medical hardship and extreme family circumstances are a couple of things on the list; advancing to play professional sports is another.

The APR numbers, which are based on a 50 percent retention and 50 percent eligibility scale, are not impacted negatively when a student-athlete leaves an institution because of one of those factors. Therefore, as long as Selby remained eligible in his classes while enrolled at KU, which, according to Buskirk and Self, he did, then the men’s basketball program’s APR number would not suffer because of his departure.

“The NCAA will only forgive that loss if, had the student-athlete stayed at the institution, he would’ve been eligible to compete,” Buskirk said. “That’s where coach Self has been extraordinarily consistent in his message to the students of, ‘We’ll support you in what you want to do, but you will take care of business while you’re here.’ And Josh has taken care of business while he’s been here.”

In addition to cross country and men’s basketball's perfect four-year scores, three other programs, women’s basketball, softball and women’s tennis, registered a perfect score during the 2009-10 school year.

“It’s just a reflection of how hard the coaches work,” Marchiony said. “It’s the coaches, it’s the kids themselves, it’s the academic counselors, it’s the faculty and it’s the tutors. Everybody shares in this success.”

Buskirk said the easiest way to make sense of the APR system is by looking at it as a batting average. A score of 1,000 represents perfect performance and the degrees of success trickle down from there. According to the NCAA, a score of 925 or higher puts a program in good standing.

The latest multiyear numbers illustrate that all 18 athletic programs at KU are well above the 925 mark. In fact, the program with the number nearest to 925 was men’s outdoor track, which had a multiyear score of 940. Of the 36 APR scores handed out this year — 18 for the multiyear score and 18 for the 2009-10 school year — only two fell below 925. Men’s indoor track earned a 924 during the 2009-10 year and men’s outdoor track earned a 917 during the same period. However, both had multiyear scores above 925.

“The short version is we are in great shape,” Buskirk said.

Comments

jayhawkinATL 8 years, 9 months ago

That's the way it works. As long as a player leaves in good standing, you don't take a hit. UK wouldn't have a program if the NCAA held it against you for one-and-dones.

BigAl 8 years, 9 months ago

And the mighty Notre Dame is still looking up at little ol' KU. I love it!!!!!!

TwistedFish31 8 years, 9 months ago

My guess is these boorish posts are the only thing from keeping this loser from slitting her writsts...

Sean O'Grady 8 years, 9 months ago

So, in addition to basketball, the men's and women's cross country team have perfect scores, yet men's indoor and outdoor track are below football (Nothing against our football team, but by sheer numbers alone, you could argue they'd be the lowest at any university).

I would imagine distance runners are included as part of the indoor and outdoor track team, so where's the drop off academically from Rim Rock to the Relays?

Peculiar...

Andy Fischer 8 years, 9 months ago

Nice of Marchiony to mention Scott "Scooter" Ward. After all he's the one that tutors the players and keeps them eligible.

lee3022 8 years, 9 months ago

This multi-year achievement is on par with multi-year conference championships. At KU, we have students first, then athletes. Nice work guys and kudos to Josh Selby for taking care of his classes before leaving.

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