Irish athletics programs again exceed APR standard

Author: Dennis Brown & John Heisler


All 26 athletics programs at the University of Notre Dame exceeded the NCAAs Academic Performance Rate (APR) standards, and 14 Irish teams earned perfect 1,000 scores in the second annual set of APR statistics issued this week by the NCAA.

The APR uses a series of formulas related to student-athlete retention and eligibility to measure the academic performances of all participants who receive grants-in-aid on every team at every NCAA Division I college and university. The scores issued this week are combined, two-year figures based on information from the 2003-04 and 2004-05 academic years.

Beginning this year, programs that failed to earn an APR score of 925 or better will be barred from replacing a scholarship athlete who leaves the institution while academically ineligible (scholarship reductions must be taken this year or next). Programs with chronically poor academic records based upon the eventual, rolling, four-year rate ultimately will be barred from postseason competition, in addition to losing scholarships.

Irish mens programs registered perfect 1,000 scores in cross country, fencing, golf, hockey, swimming, indoor track and outdoor track. The womens programs that scored 1,000 are cross country, fencing, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball and tennis.

The NCAA presented public recognition awards both to the top 10 percent of teams by school and to the top 10 percent of teams by sport – with those same 14 Notre Dame mens and womens teams that earned 1,000 scores all honored in both categories. No other NCAA Division I-A institution had more programs honored in the by-institution category than Notre Dame with its 14. (BostonCollegealso had 14 – with the Eagles sponsoring 28 programs compared with Notre Dames 26.)

Last years one-year compilation provided a dry run for institutions to learn how the APR works and what penalties would have been assessed had the program been live. These two-year aggregate scores are the first upon which contemporaneous penalties are based – with 99 teams from 65 different institutions so far incurring scholarship penalties. Some teams with scores below 925 were not penalized because of squad-size adjustments made due to small sample sizes in certain sports. Those adjustments will be eliminated after the first three years of APR data.

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