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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

A.P.R. Scores Viewed at 2014-15 Level

The latest Academic Progress Rates, released yesterday by the N.C.A.A., uses the baseline of a four-year score of 900 for postseason eligibility. By that standard, all 120 F.B.S. programs – not yet 124 when this data was compiled – earn a passing grade.

But beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the baseline to avoid penalties will increase to 930, putting a few F.B.S. programs in danger of suffering one or more of several potential penalties: a postseason ban, a loss of scholarships or a loss of practice time, for example.

According to the N.C.A.A., an A.P.R. score of 930 equates to a graduation rate of roughly 50 percent. While the current rate of 900 remains in place for the next two years, the increased standard has the potential to impact a handful of B.C.S. and non-B.C.S. conference programs.

If this year’s A.P.R. scores hold true, eight F.B.S. programs would fail to match the 2014-15 threshold: Oklahoma State (928), Houston (926), Tulsa (925), Buffalo (923), New Mexico State (918), Louisiana-Monroe (917), UTEP (911) and Louisville (911).

Eleven Warriors did the legwork, taking into account recent conference realignment. The Big Ten has the highest average A.P.R. of any B.C.S. conference at 960.8, followed by the A.C.C. at 959.6, the SEC at 956.5, the Big East at 952.8, the Big 12 at 951.5 and the Pac-12 at 949.4 – and yes, I’m surprised to see the Pac-12 come in last.

The teams listed above, as well as the other schools in the danger zone, should spend the next two years focusing heavily on improving their A.P.R. scores in advance of the 2014-15 year. UTEP is one school that is likely to face future penalties. The university was docked four scholarships last year, thanks to its A.P.R. score of 918, and hasn’t topped a score of 930 over the last seven years.

These programs are the exception to the rule. Most schools are in solid shape heading into the 2014-15 year, and several should be commended for their high A.P.R. scores: Northwestern (995), Boise State (989), Ohio State (988) and Northern Illinois (987), among others.

The takeaway: Keep an eye on those teams in the A.P.R. danger zone. For now, here are this year’s A.P.R. scores for the 120 F.B.S. programs evaluated by the N.C.A.A., listed by conference (I underlined those universities below or within 10 points of the 930 score):

Boston College – 978
Clemson – 983
Duke – 989
Florida State – 937
Georgia Tech – 974
N.C. State – 931
Maryland – 931
Miami (Fla.) – 980
North Carolina – 943
Virginia – 944
Virginia Tech – 968
Wake Forest – 973

Big 12
Baylor – 956
Iowa State – 938
Kansas State – 943
Oklahoma State – 928
Texas Tech – 946
Kansas – 971
Oklahoma – 970
Texas – 937
T.C.U. – 973
West Virginia – 953

Big East
Rutgers – 982
Syracuse – 950
Cincinnati – 939
Connecticut – 963
Louisville – 911
Pittsburgh – 955
South Florida – 963
Temple – 959

Big Ten
Nebraska – 966
Indiana – 964
Michigan State – 943
Northwestern – 995
Penn State – 971
Purdue – 950
Ohio State – 988
Illinois – 953
Iowa – 949
Michigan – 943
Minnesota – 932
Wisconsin – 975

Conference USA
East Carolina – 952
Marshall – 951
Rice – 986
S.M.U. – 941
Tulane – 967
U.A.B. – 953
U.C.F. – 974
Houston – 926
Memphis – 932
Southern Mississippi – 930
UTEP – 911
Tulsa – 925

Army – 970
Navy – 973
Notre Dame – 970
B.Y.U. – 932

Ball State – 946
Bowling Green – 951
Central Michigan – 941
Eastern Michigan – 935
Kent State – 935
Miami (Ohio) – 967
Northern Illinois – 987
Ohio – 949
Buffalo – 923
Akron – 933
Toledo – 960
Western Michigan – 954

Mountain West
Colorado State – 954
San Diego State – 949
Air Force – 980
Nevada – 947
New Mexico – 943
Wyoming – 936
Hawaii – 951
Boise State – 989
Fresno State – 948

Arizona State – 937
Oregon State – 955
Stanford – 977
Arizona – 951
California – 936
U.C.L.A. – 956
Oregon – 948
U.S.C. – 947
Washington – 949
Washington State – 933
Colorado – 938
Utah – 966

Auburn – 943
L.S.U. – 964
Mississippi State – 959
Alabama – 970
Arkansas – 936
Florida – 972
Georgia – 970
Kentucky – 951
Mississippi – 933
South Carolina – 966
Tennessee – 931
Vanderbilt – 978
Missouri – 972
Texas A&M – 946

Sun Belt
Arkansas State – 948
Florida Atlantic – 930
Florida International – 934
Middle Tennessee State – 983
Troy – 930
Louisiana-Lafayette – 948
Louisiana-Monroe – 917
North Texas – 938
Western Kentucky – 951

Louisiana Tech – 946
New Mexico State – 918
San Jose State – 959
Idaho – 934
Utah State – 959

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  1. DMK says:

    I’m not sure what all of this APR stuff means, but I do know it’s darn near impossible to fail university courses these days.

    Anyone who shows up and turns in the assignments passes.

    Not coming to class, not writing the paper, not taking an exam *might* cause you to fail.

    We also know that whole majors, whole departments are concocted just for athletes, so it’s amazing that anyone could fail out of fail-proof programs.

    At my SEC alma mater I never had a class with a varsity athlete of any sort.

    Heck, at the Ivy where I teach most the athletes stick together and take the few easy classes that exist.

    Pretty amazing.

  2. Dr. Nick says:

    As a BYU alum, I am interested to know why BYU’s APR is so low. As far as I can tell, BYU gets penalized for players leaving on 2-year LDS missions, which somewhere over half of BYU students do while enrolled. Those are counted the same way that a student simply dropping out of school would be. BYU often has some sort of special exception for missionary service in many of the NCAA bylaws – does anyone know of anything similar for APR’s or in BYU getting a systematically lower APR because of players leaving on missions?

  3. Woodysc says:

    DMK, I teach math at a Division I university without a football program. F’s definitely happen here, even to students who never miss class. And some of those are athletes. Perhaps its different in other disciplines or in the Ivy, but the idea that is nearly impossible to fail would cause a quite a few laughs in this department.

  4. DMK says:

    @ Woodysc

    You math guys have all the fun!

  5. John in the Bronx says:

    APR has to be one of the most useless rankings in any field. The massive corruption plaguing football academics saddens me…but I still am glued to the tube every fall Saturday. Freshmen should be declared ineligible and scholarships should be for five years.

  6. DMK says:

    Yes, APR is a nonsense metric which exists to give the appearance that big-time college athletics has anything to do with school and learning.

  7. Hokieshibe says:

    @ Woody – That was my first thought when I saw BYU there. It’s gotta be the missions.

  8. DMK says:

    And, to be honest, anyone who’s gone pro as a junior and lands on an NFL opening-day roster shouldn’t be counted against a school either.

    Do they under this system?

  9. Bill Condon says:

    Another Division I college prof here–English. I’d add “and tries to learn” to DMK’s list. At Washington State, we have a number of programs that assist various categories of “at risk” students, including athletes. While the Athletic Department certainly supplements those efforts, these programs are open to first-generation students, students with lower socio-economic standing, students from rural schools, as well as from other categories that might lower a student’s college readiness. As a result, we’ve gone from losing scholarships three years ago because we were below 900 to 933, and the results for athletes and others are encouraging. I’d like to see more universities establish programs that help all students, athletes included.

  10. Rutgers Prof says:

    It was interesting to see how many fellow professors follow this site. I can affirm that the lax policies DMK says are typical of the Ivies are not typical of college in general. At Rutgers, not turning in assignments, in any discipline, definitely gets you an F.

    It is clear that the APR is opaque and appears to be unfair at the high end. However, it is clearly better than nothing and a step in the right direction. It requires programs to be more selective in who they admit and to have in place sufficient academic support for students needing it.

  11. Dave says:

    What on earth is the methodology for these scores? I find it very hard to believe that Ohio State beats out the service academies, which graduate close to 100% of their football players, and where each player has to at least minor in engineering. (DMK – pretty easy to fail a course there – take it from me)

    No disrespect to Ohio State, but have you ever hear Terrelle Pryor speak? He can barely form an articulate sentence…

  12. DMK says:

    MTSU and Northern Illinois are the new Wake and Vandy!

    Texas, Michigan, Cal: We once had world-class publicly funded research universities, now we don’t. And the football players are still behind the curve.

    I’m calling bs on Boise, both the football and the academics.

    These rankings make no sense. It’s an inscrutable metric that tricks us into believing the myth of the college athlete while it secures the free labor of those very athletes.

  13. AggieFan says:

    It looks like many are confusing the APR score with academic prowess. This is only a measure of the number of student athletes that a) stay in school and b) stay academically eligible. It may or may not be a reflection of how difficult a particular school’s curriculum is. In fact, I would argue that it helps define the schools that are either skewing the data or have clown type curriculum (i.e. Boise St). In most cases it also reflects on the type of student athlete that is recruited to each school. Look at schools like Northwestern or Duke where the requirements are relatively high yet look at the standard they set with these scores despite that.

  14. Bryce Harper says:

    @Boise State:

    “That’s a clown curriculum, bro.”

  15. southwvboy says:

    I thought WVU was too dumb to be in the ACC.

  16. WEK says:

    Surprised (but pleased/impressed) to see Utah with the second-highest APR in the Pac-12. Good for them.

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