The NCAA's annual release of the newest Academic Progress Rate data will once again have minimal impact on the upcoming college basketball season.
None of the teams penalized for substandard scores hail from major conferences or even quality mid-major leagues.
Alcorn State, Florida A&M, Stetson and Central Arkansas are the only four teams that received postseason bans for the upcoming season. Alcorn State, Central Arkansas and Savannah State also face practice time restrictions, while Florida A&M faces that and other potential penalties including scholarship reductions, coach-specific punishment and contest restrictions.
To avoid a potential postseason ban, teams must achieve a multi-year APR score of at least 930. The power-conference programs with the least margin for error are Texas Tech (935), TCU (937), Mississippi State (938) and Washington State (938).
The NCAA used the release of APR scores to issue a press release trumpeting that the overall four-year APR scores had increased by two points nationwide and that the boost was fueled in part by football and men's basketball. Average scores for men’s basketball players increased four points to 961 and for football players increased five points to 956.
“More college athletes than ever are succeeding in the classroom, and I applaud their commitment to academic achievement. We are pleased and proud of their accomplishments," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in the release. "Our goal always has been to encourage students to achieve academically and earn their degrees. Every year, Division I students prove that both academic and athletic success are achievable.”
How much stock should be placed in the APR formula is certainly debatable, but the high scores across all sports should serve as a reminder of the lunacy of the freshman ineligibility proposals from the Big Ten and other conferences earlier this year.
If "more college athletes than ever are succeeding in the classroom" under the current model, then the idea of adopting a decades-old rule that would force all freshmen to sit out a year seems only more unnecessary and implausible.
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