NCAA's Move to New Academic Standard May Keep Teams Out of Bowl Games

Overshadowed by the new "pay-for-play" ruling last Thursday from the Indianapolis, Indiana based NCAA Division I Board of Directors, was another important ruling that will have a serious impact on the academic aspects of college sports going forward. It concerns rule changes that would require schools to have an Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of at least 930 to participate in postseason play. NCAA President Mark Emmert said the point of the changes is to make sure student athletes are students first and not the other way around. He pointed out that if the rule had been in place last year, it would have excluded eight football teams from bowl games in the 2010 season and seven teams from the men's basketball tournament without identifying specific schools. Under the new standards the board reaffirmed raising the four-year Academic Progress Rate cutline from 900 to 930 and linking that score to eligibility for postseason play with a four-year plan to phase in the guidelines. During the first two years, 2012-13 and 2013-14, teams scoring below 900 on the four-year average would be ineligible for postseason play unless they average 930 in the two most recent years. In the 2014-15 season, teams that do not hit the 930 standard would be ineligible unless they averaged 940 in the two most recent years. But after 2015, everyone must hit an APR score of 930 with no exceptions. Schools that do not make the threshold could also be facing additional penalties like reductions in practice times, scholarship reductions, and restricted NCAA membership status. How did the Mountain West teams measure up in the 2009-2010 season in the APR? School ......... Football Rating...........Men's Basketball Rating CSU ................. 948 ............................. 914 BSU ................. 981 ............................. 976 Air Force .......... 978 ............................. 963 TCU ................. 972 ............................. 943 UNM ................ 947 ............................. 932 WYO ................ 933 ............................. 905 UNLV ............... 947 ............................. 961 SDSU .............. 934 ............................. 938 *UNR ............... 943 ............................. 919 *HAWAII .......... 959 ............................. 957 *FSU................. 952 ............................. 923 * Future MWC members The new standard of 930 will be phased in between now and 2015-16, which will be the first year the full score of 930 will be required. That increase in the academic standards for bowl and tournament eligibility raises it to a level that predicts a 50 percent graduation rate. But the new academic requirement also potentially narrows the field of eligible football teams and will make it difficult to fill all 70 of the sport's postseason slots.
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