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DI Committee on Academics seeks feedback on Academic Performance Program

Members will begin providing input this fall

As part of a holistic review begun last fall, the Division I Committee on Academics is seeking feedback from member representatives, particularly compliance and academics personnel, about the Academic Performance Program, including the Academic Progress Rate.

The APR is a team-based metric that awards points every term for student-athletes who remain academically eligible for competition and stay in school or graduate. APR was designed to be a strong predictor of a team’s Graduation Success Rate, and the committee feels it is important that any modifications to APR enhance its ability to serve as a barometer for future graduation statistics. The committee has narrowed the focus to 11 key areas for examination and needs feedback in each, often within specific parameters. That process will begin with a set of webinars scheduled for the fall and winter. Staff also will seek input at governance meetings, conference meetings and coaches association meetings.

“The Academic Performance Program is an important part of Division I’s commitment to the academic success of college athletes,” said John J. DeGioia, president at Georgetown and chair of the Committee on Academics. “We hope to hear open, honest comments from colleagues throughout the membership, so we can improve the program and better support our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics.”

The committee spent the last year identifying the areas that will be evaluated and, within those areas, what key questions need to be answered.

  • Academic Progress Rate cohort composition, including which student-athletes are included, which are excluded, and how it impacts the rate at a team, school and sport level.
  • Penalty structure and filters, including whether the Graduation Success Rate should be considered when determining whether teams face penalties and if the filters that assist limited-resource schools should be continued.
  • Postgraduates in the APR and whether teams should continue to receive “automatic credit” for retention for grads or a new model should be considered.
  • Adjustment for pro sports departure, including the potential for additional criteria for student-athletes to earn the adjustment, such as a minimum length of college attendance to be eligible.
  • Public recognition and other ideas for recognizing teams for high performance.
  • Head coach APR, determining if the resource still has value for the membership.
  • Delayed graduation points, including whether a team could receive partial “credit” for a student-athlete who eventually graduates from another school.
  • Noncounters and how they are included in the APR calculation.
  • Components and calculation of APR, including if factors beyond retention and eligibility should be considered in the metric, specifically some form of graduation.
  • Transfer behavior and whether credit should be given for graduation from the second school or if eligibility for competition could be tied to the 2.6 grade-point average standard currently used to determine whether a team receives a rate adjustment.

The committee will consider any feedback at its first meetings in 2020. The committee established guiding principles that will direct its review, including that all Division I athletics departments should be subject to penalties and rewards, the program should encourage improvement for underperforming teams, and diverse missions and characteristics should be acknowledged. The committee prioritized fairness, equity and simplicity in the rate.

Any Academic Performance Program policy changes can be made by the committee with endorsement from the Division I Board of Directors. 

The committee will conduct a series of webinars over the fall and winter to gain feedback. NCAA academic and membership affairs staff also will present at conference meetings, if requested, and for any coaches associations, Division I governance bodies and other organizations that would like to provide input. For more information on the holistic review or to provide feedback, please contact Katy Yurk at kyurk@ncaa.org.