You are here

Academic gains continue among DI student-athletes

Academic Progress Rate increases 2 points, HBCUs up 4

Division I student-athletes continue to succeed in the classroom, confirmed by a 2-point increase in the Academic Progress Rate. The overall four-year rate increased to 983.

Four-year rates for baseball, football and women’s basketball each increased 2 points to 975, 964 and 982, respectively. Men’s basketball players raised their overall, four-year APR by a point, to 967.

NCAA President Mark Emmert celebrated the impact the APR has made on the culture of Division I.

“We’ve seen a remarkable evolutionary shift in Division I over the last 14 years. Administrators, coaches and students all make academic achievement and graduation top focus areas,” Emmert said. “The APR is  a powerful metric that leads ultimately to more graduates and more student-athletes with better opportunities after college.”

Some of the most significant improvement has occurred among teams at historically black colleges and universities. The single-year rates for HBCUs have improved 34 points in the last five years alone, reaching 962 during 2016-17. All other schools increased 5 points during that time, from 979 to 984.

To compete in the 2018-19 postseason, teams must achieve a 930 four-year APR. NCAA members chose the 930 standard because that score predicts, on average, a 50 percent graduation rate for teams at that APR level. Additionally, teams must earn at least a 930 four-year APR to avoid penalties.

Since the Division I membership created the Academic Performance Program 14 years ago, more than 16,000 former athletes earned APR points for their prior teams by returning to college after their eligibility ran out and earning a degree. Of those 16,000, more than half participated in football, baseball or basketball — the highest-profile sports in Division I. Those students generally do not count in graduation rates because they earn degrees outside the six-year window allowed by both the federal graduation rate and the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate.

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, chair of the Division I Committee on Academics, praised the academic achievement of Division I student-athletes.

“The Committee on Academics is proud of the success of the Academic Performance Program and the growth of the Academic Progress Rate for Division I student-athletes,” DeGioia said. “Thousands more college athletes are earning degrees every year because of this program, and those graduates will reap lifelong benefits from their college experiences.”

The APR, created to be a more real-time measurement of academic success than graduation rates, is a team-based metric through which scholarship student-athletes each term earn 1 point for remaining eligible and 1 point for staying in school or graduating. At schools that don’t offer scholarships, recruited student-athletes are tracked.

Every Division I sports team calculates its Academic Progress Rate each academic year. The NCAA reports both single-year rates and four-year rates, on which penalties for poor academic performance are based. National aggregates are based on all teams with usable, member-provided data from April 6. APRs for each team, lists of teams receiving public recognition and those receiving sanctions are available online through the NCAA’s searchable database.