Academic Progress Rate
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Academic Progress Rate, sometimes also known as Academic Performance Rating 
The NCAA defines The Academic Progress Rate as:
The Academic Progress Rate (APR) is a term-by-term measure of eligibility and retention for Division I student-
athletes that was developed as an early indicator of eventual graduation rates. 
5.1 Reform Effects
5.1.1 On Football
5.1.2 On Men's Basketball
7 APR compared to Graduation Standards
7.1 Federal Graduation Rate
7.2 Graduation Success Rate
8 Potential Misinterpretations
The mandatory publication of graduation rates came into effect in 1990 as a consequence of the "Student Right-to-Know Act,"
which attempted to create an environment in which universities would become more devoted to academics and hold athletes
more accountable for academic success.  However, the graduation rates established by the NCAA showed poor results, for
example they reported that among students who entered college between 1993 and 1996 only 51 percent of football players
graduated within 6 years and 41 percent of basketball players.  Feeling pressure to improve these poor rates the NCAA
instituted reforms in 2004, including the APR, a new method for gauging the academic progress of student athletes.  It was
put into place in order to aid in the NCAA's goal for student-athletes to graduate with meaningful degrees preparing them for
life.  The principle data collector was Thomas Paskus, the Principal Research Scientist for the National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA). 
The APR measures how scholarship student-athletes are performing term by term throughout the school year. It is a
composite team measurement based upon how individual team members do academically. Teams that don’t make the 925
APR threshold are subject to sanctions. The NCAA works closely with the schools that do not meet the threshold in order to
improve them. When a school has APR challenges, it may be encouraged or even required to present an academic
improvement plan to the NCAA. In reviewing these plans, the national office staff encourages schools to work with other
campus units to achieve a positive outcome. The staff also works with APR-challenged schools to create reasonable timelines
for improvement. While eligibility requirements make the individual student-athlete accountable, the Academic Progress
Rate creates a level of responsibility for the university. 
Teams that fail to achieve an APR score of 925 - equivalent to a 50% graduation rate - may be penalized. A perfect score is
1000. The scores are calculated as follows:
Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one retention point for staying in school
and one eligibility point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by the points possible
and then multiplied by one thousand to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate score. Example: A Division I
Football Bowl Subdivision team awards the full complement of 85 grants-in-aid. If 80 student-athletes remain in
school and academically eligible, three remain in school but are academically ineligible and two drop out
academically ineligible, the team earns 163 of 170 possible points for that term. Divide 163 by 170 and multiply
by 1,000 to determine that the team’s Academic Progress Rate for that term is 959. 
The NCAA calculates the rate as a rolling, four-year figure that takes into account all the points student-athletes could earn
for remaining in school and academically eligible during that period. Teams that do not earn an Academic Progress Rate
above specific benchmarks face penalties ranging from scholarship reductions to more severe sanctions like restrictions on
scholarships and practice time. 
Teams that score below 925 and have a student-athlete who both failed academically and left school can lose scholarships
(up to 10 percent of their scholarships each year) under the immediate penalty structure.
Teams with Academic Progress Rates below 900 face additional sanctions, increasing in severity for each consecutive year
the team fails to meet the standard.
Year 1: a public warning letter for poor performance
Year 2: restrictions on scholarships and practice time
Year 3: loss of postseason competition for the team (such as a bowl game or the men's basketball tournament)
Year 4: restricted membership status for an institution. The school's entire athletics program is penalized and will not be
considered a part of Division I. 
The first penalties under the APR system were scheduled to be announced in December 2005. Starting with the 2008–09
academic year, bans from postseason competition were added to the penalty structure. The most severe penalty available is
a one-year suspension of NCAA membership, which has not yet been assessed as of 2010–11. 
Prior to 2010–11, only four teams had received postseason bans. The results of the NCAA's APR report for that year, which
covered 2006–07 through 2009–10, saw eight teams receive that penalty—five in men's basketball and three in football. Most
notably, Southern University became the first school ever to receive APR-related postseason bans in two sports. The highest-
profile penalty in that year's cycle was handed down to defending NCAA men's basketball champion Connecticut. The
Huskies lost two scholarships for the 2011–12 season due to APR violations. UConn would be barred from postseason
play in 2012–13 due to APR penalties.
NCAA college presidents met in Indianapolis in August 2011 to discuss a reform on the APR because of the poor academic
performance by student athletes. The NCAA Board of Directors, on Thursday August 11, voted to ban Division I athletic teams
from postseason play if their four-year academic progress rate failed to meet 930. 
The new policy will begin taking effect in the 2012-13 academic year, however institutions will have a period of 3 years to
align their APR with the new standard. The postseason restrictions for the next few years are as follows:
2012-13 postseason: 900 four-year average or 930 average over most recent two years
2013-14 postseason: either 930 four-year average or 940 average over most recent two years
2015-2016 postseason and beyond: 930 four-year average
Currently, the APR benchmark for postseason play is 900 so this is a significant increase and could result in serious
consequences for some institutions that fail to improve their APR.
There are many questions regarding how the NCAA will enforce the new policy for football. The Bowl Championship Series is
its own entity and decides the college football postseason, thus making them the governing body for college football.President
Gary Ransdell said there's uncertainty on how the new standard relates to the BCS. "The BCS is an independently run
enterprise, yet it involves NCAA member institutions," he said. "So does this 930 rule also determine eligibility for BCS
games? I think that's yet to be ironed out." 
Some NCAA institutions participate in football leagues, other than the BCS, which are organized by the NCAA and these
reforms would apply to. In the 2011-12 academic year there were 17 teams in the FBS league with APRs below 930 and 37
teams in the FCS league. If these programs do not find a way to improve their APR then they will suffer postseason bans.
On Men's Basketball
The APR's flaws are highlighted in men's basketball. "Syracuse's Jim Boeheim suffered the two-scholarship hit last summer,
and in doing so publicly upbraided the APR for taking into account the departures of Eric Devendorf, Jonny Flynn and Paul
Harris for the NBA draft, all three of whom left campus to prepare for the NBA event without fulfilling their spring semester
requirements."  Many college basketball players leave before they graduate, and the ones that leave in bad academic
standing, cause the APR to go down. This issue is seen throughout college basketball.
To exemplify this phenomenon for collegiate basketball, if the 930 postseason ban had been in effect for the 2011-12 season
then 99 teams would have received postseason bans. Clearly, the new postseason policy must become a high priority for
basketball programs or many of them will not be competing in NCAA sponsored championships.
The NCAA does adjust APR, on a student-by-student basis, in two circumstances. One exception that can be made, is for
student-athletes who leave prior to graduation, while in good academic standing, to pursue a professional career. Another is
for student-athletes who transfer to another school while meeting minimum academic requirements and student-athletes who
return to graduate at a later date. In the 2010–11 cycle, the NCAA granted nearly 700 APR adjustments in the latter category,
out of a total of over 6,400 Division I teams. Nearly half of the adjustments were for baseball players. 
APR compared to Graduation Standards
Federal Graduation Rate
Another indicator of the academic performance of student athletes is the Federal Graduation Rate, FGR, which is published
by the university. In computing the FGR the only data that is relevant is whether the student athlete graduates within six years
of enrolling in the institution. This differs from the APR because it makes no distinction of the purpose a student has for
leaving and whether or not they leave a university in good academic standing. If a student leaves their enrolled university to
pursue a professional athletic career this counts the same under the FGR as someone who leaves because they failed out of
school; on the other hand, by the APR standards a student that leaves while still in good academic standing receives one
point out of two which distinguishes them from someone that left because of academic failure.  With that in mind, FGR
rates usually reflect a value lower than the APR at elite athletic institutions that consistently send athletes to the professional
leagues prior to graduation.
Graduation Success Rate
The NCAA developed its Graduation Success Rate, GSR, in response to criticism that the FGR understates the academic
success of athletes because the FGR method does not take into account two important factors in college athletics:
1. When student-athletes transfer from an institution before graduating and are in good academic standing (perhaps to
transfer from an institution for more playing time or a different major).
2. Those student-athletes who transfer to an institution (e.g. from a community college or another 4-year college) and earn a
The FGR treats transfers as nongraduates for the original institution the student-athlete attended, even if that student-athlete
later graduates from another institution. Also, the FGR does not include that student- athlete in the graduation rates at the
new institution where he/she does graduate. Therefore, once a student-athlete transfers to another school he/she is no longer
recognized in the calculated graduation rate. The GSR takes into account both factors and gives credit to institutions for
successful transfers, whether they are leaving or entering an institution. 
While the numbers represented in the APR have a certain significance, there can be misrepresentations for people unfamiliar
with what the APR is showing. For example, the APR only applies to students that receive athletic financial aid, which is by
no means all varsity athletes at a university.  NCAA's 1,265 member colleges and universities report that they have more
than 355,000 student-athletes playing each year. Approximately 36% of these NCAA student-athletes receive a share of the
$1 billion earmarked for athletic scholarships. Another common misuse of the data occurs when APR results are
compared between universities. This is usually not a valid comparison unless it is viewed alongside the graduation rates for
non athletes at the institution. For example, one institution may have an APR representing that only 50% of athletes are on
track to graduate which seems like athletes are under performing at the university. However, if the graduation rate for non-
athletes is also 50% then the low graduation rate for the athletes is not a student-athlete problem, but a university wide
problem.  Furthermore, it is not always relevant to compare APR scores across universities because the academic rigors
between universities differ. For example, at some high performing academic universities freshman struggle with eligibility
because the workload is hard to deal with initially, but in the end, those students find academic success.
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5. ^ a b "Behind the Blue Disk: Division I Academic Reform" . NCAA. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
6. ^ Paskus, Thomas. "An interesting career in psychological science: NCAA researcher" . APA. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
7. ^ "How is the Academic Progress Rate calculated?" . NCAA. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
8. ^ a b "How is the Academic Progess Rate Calculated" . NCAA. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
9. ^ "APR Penalties List" . NCAA. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
10. ^ a b "NCAA slaps UConn, Southern on APR" . ESPN.com. May 24, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
11. ^ "UConn loses final appeal" . ESPN.com. April 5, 2012. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
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18. ^ a b LaForge, Hodge (2011). "NCAA Academic Performance Metrics: Implications for Institutional Policy and Practice". Journal of
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19. ^ "What Is Graduation Success Rate?" .
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via Academic Progress Rate