It’s academic-progress-rate time at universities across the country, and at Kansas University that means yet another reason for the men’s basketball program to celebrate.
As has been the case each March, when coach Bill Self’s squad has added another tally to its streak of consecutive conference titles, the program tacked on its seventh straight perfect APR score of 1,000 for the 2011-12 school year, just two behind the mark of nine straight titles on the court.
“We’re a little numb to that anymore,” said Paul Buskirk, KU’s associate athletic director for student support. “Because it’s been seven years straight, it’s almost become like winning the Big 12 Conference championship. But it’s a big stinkin’ deal. After you do it so many times, people kind of go ho-hum, but if you look at the national average for Div. I basketball schools, it’s going to be around 940 or 950. It’s not going to be 1,000.”
A team’s annual APR score is a measure of two things: the overall eligibility of its athletes and the retention of those athletes from semester to semester as they pursue their degrees. Each scholarship athlete in every sport has the potential to earn four points per school year. Two points are possible for being eligible and two points are possible for remaining in good academic standing.
Once KU gets the numbers for each athlete on each team, the results are then combined to produce each team’s overall APR number.
The system came about in 2003 as a new way for universities to track the academic performance of their student-athletes. Until 2003, the only gauges available were team grade-point average and graduation rates. However, researchers discovered that both numbers moved too slowly to matter on a year-to-year basis. With the APR system in place, the numbers are tracked over a four-year period and on an annual basis, and programs that fall below the NCAA’s good-standing mark of 930 face the potential for penalties, which range from loss of scholarships to postseason bans.
Buskirk, who was against the idea initially, said the APR system has made a major impact on improving academic performance in all sports.
“Graduation is the event,” Buskirk said. “That’s what we want. That’s why we’re here. However, this instrument (APR) has heightened the attention of coaches to academics single-handedly more than anything else I’ve ever seen in the 28 years I’ve done this. Every coach may not know their graduation rate. They should, but they know dadgum well what their academic progress rate is because there are penalties to go along with this if it’s not good. So, it has been useful beyond my expectations.”
All 18 of KU’s athletic programs scored well above the magic number of 930 in the multi-year totals released today. Men’s basketball and women’s cross country had perfect scores, and men’s track (indoor and outdoor) and baseball brought up the rear, however all three scored above 950. Men’s hoops, women’s cross country and volleyball were the only three programs at KU that received a 1,000 for the 2011-12 school year.
Although Buskirk said he would prefer to see every program record perfect scores, he admitted that his standards were rather high. More importantly, he said he was more than pleased with the academic performance of all of KU’s athletic programs.
“I don’t have any concerns at all,” he said.
KU’s multi-year APR numbers by program
(2011-12 number in parentheses)
Baseball — 955 (957)
Men’s Basketball — 1,000 (1,000)
Men’s Cross Country — 990 (985)
Football — 958 (931)
Men’s Golf — 979 (971)
Men’s Track, Indoor — 954 (959)
Men’s Track, Outdoor — 953 (959)
Women’s Basketball — 971 (938)
Women’s Cross Country — 1,000 (1,000)
Women’s Rowing — 980 (985)
Women’s Golf — 986 (976)
Softball — 989 (970)
Women’s Soccer — 967 (941)
Women’s Swimming — 966 (956)
Women’s Tennis — 971 (900)
Women’s Track, Indoor — 965 (984)
Women’s Track, Outdoor — 965 (984)
Volleyball — 990 (1,000)