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DI Committee on Academics continues academic program review

Academic Progress Rate a focus of discussions

The Division I Committee on Academics continued its comprehensive review of the Academic Performance Program, focusing discussions this quarter on four different aspects of the Academic Progress Rate.

At its meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Indianapolis, the committee studied which student-athletes are included in the rate, how both graduates and students who leave for pro sports opportunities are counted, and points earned when former students come back and earn a degree.

The review, approved last year by the Division I Board of Directors, is intended to evaluate how well the APR continues to align with its purpose: demonstrating academic performance and progress toward graduation.

“The committee continued its work examining the Academic Performance Program to be sure it is fulfilling its goal of highlighting a team’s true academic performance,” said committee chair John J. DeGioia, president at Georgetown. “The APR has been ingrained in the culture of Division I, and we hope to enhance its effectiveness and continue to encourage schools to support student-athletes as they work toward earning a degree.”

The committee decided it was interested in seeking membership feedback on including student-athletes who are recruited and receive any financial aid from a school in both the APR and the Graduation Success Rate. That change, modeled after Division II’s Academic Success Rate, would broaden the number of students included in the rate and could provide a more accurate picture of a full team’s academic performance.

The committee also discussed how postgraduate student-athletes are counted in the APR and will consider enhancing accountability for those students. The APP awards one APR point for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school. However, current policy dictates that student-athletes in post-baccalaureate or graduate programs after earning an undergraduate degree always earn the retention point, regardless of whether they continue in their postgraduate program after their eligibility expires.

The committee also is considering the impact of the professional departure adjustment, which currently counts only the eligibility point for student-athletes who leave school to pursue professional athletics opportunities, provided they leave while eligible. The committee discussed everything from keeping the current policy to removing the pro departure entirely, with gradated concepts in between, including requiring three years of college attendance or requiring a student-athlete to earn 50 percent of the credit toward a degree to earn the professional adjustment

Finally, the committee examined the impact of the delayed graduation point, which allows schools to recoup points lost when a student-athlete leaves school without graduating but returns later to earn a degree. Support continued among members for retaining the program.

The committee will seek membership feedback on these issues and will continue to review other aspects of the program over the coming year.

Postgraduate opportunities

The Committee on Academics also continued its discussion of academic expectations for student-athletes who continue to compete after graduation. The committee members noted that their review focused on academic issues for postgraduate students and acknowledged that other, more competitive-focused factors exist.

In response to feedback from the membership, the group adjusted its guiding principles for the review, which focus on providing support for postgraduate student-athletes to pursue educational opportunities that will best help them achieve their academic goals.

Degree completion assistance

The committee also provided feedback on operational issues related to the new membership requirement that Division I schools provide funding for former men’s and women’s basketball players to complete their degrees, even after their athletics careers are completed.

Additionally, the committee reviewed and provided input on issues related to the creation of the Division I Former Student-Athlete Degree Achievement Fund, which will provide money for former student-athletes seeking to finish their degrees at schools with comparably fewer resources than others in the division.