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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., May 7, 2014 - Eight Penn State teams have received a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA for earning high scores in the most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) compilation. All eight teams earned APR scores in the top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport during the 2012-13 academic year.
The eight Penn State squads recognized by the NCAA are: men's cross country, women's cross country, field hockey, women's golf, men's tennis, women's tennis, men's indoor track and field and men's outdoor track and field. The NCAA recognized the same eight teams for their academic success in 2011-12.
The eight honored teams ties last year’s figure, which is the second highest total in the nine years of the NCAA Public Recognition Award, trailing only the nine honored squads from 2009-10.
Penn State's eight honored teams were third-highest in the Big Ten. Northwestern and Minnesota were the only conference schools with more than the Nittany Lions. Penn State has placed fourth or higher in the number of teams earning a Public Recognition Award in all nine years of the program.
The Nittany Lion women's tennis team earned its ninth straight NCAA Public Recognition Award. Interim coach Chris Cagle’s squad is one of only 146 teams among the 6,450 eligible (2.3 percent) that has earned nine consecutive Public Recognition Awards since the program began with APR data from 2004-05.
Coach Char Morett's field hockey team was honored with an NCAA Public Recognition Award for the seventh consecutive year and eighth in the nine years of the program. Coach Denise St. Pierre's women's golf team and Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan's women's cross country squad each earned their fifth NCAA Public Recognition Award.
Penn State has had at least four teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards in all nine years of the program. The aggregate 2012-13 Academic Progress Rate data for all NCAA Division I institutions will be announced later this month.
The NCAA's APR is designed to track the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship at a particular institution. It accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation to provide a measure of each team's academic performance.
Penn State student-athletes, who have captured a conference-best 15 Big Ten Championships and four NCAA titles the past two years, have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. A sampling of recent academic accomplishments includes:
- A school record 65 Penn State student-athletes from eight winter teams earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. The previous mark for the winter sports season was 64 honorees, set in 2013. The 65 winter honorees brought Penn State's 2013-14 total to 149 (from 15 total sports).
- A record total of 387 awards were presented to Penn State student-athletes at the 27th Annual SAAB Academic Achievement Awards Banquet on April 15. The figure topped last year's record of 356;
- A school record 468 Penn State student-athletes earned a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher during the 2013 fall semester, with 197 earning Dean's List recognition;
- A total of 84 Penn State student-athletes from seven fall sports earned 2013 Academic All-Big Ten accolades, the Nittany Lions' second-highest total in their 21 years in the Big Ten;
- The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide in October, 2013 revealed that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to an 81 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2003-04 through 2006-07;
- NCAA data last October also showed the four-year federal graduation rate average for Penn State student-athletes was 78 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 65 percent, and tied for second among Big Ten Conference institutions;
- Penn State's Katie Slay (women's volleyball) and John Urschel (football) earned first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors last fall, with Slay being selected the Academic All-American of the Year for women's volleyball. Penn State has had 184 all-time honorees, the third-highest total among Division I institutions, with 38 Academic All-Americans honorees the past six years.