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May 17, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - A school record nine Penn State teams have received a Public Recognition Award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for earning high scores in the most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) compilation.
The Penn State squads recognized by the NCAA are: Nittany Lion basketball, field hockey, men's and women's cross country, softball, men's soccer, men's and women's track & field and women's tennis. All nine teams earned APR scores in the top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport during the 2009-10 academic year.
Penn State's nine honored teams tied for the lead with Northwestern among Big Ten Conference institutions. No other league school had more than six honored teams.
The Nittany Lion women's tennis team picked up its sixth straight NCAA Public Recognition Award, while field hockey and softball were honored for the fourth consecutive year. Penn State women's tennis is one of only 260 teams among the 6,385 eligible (4.0 percent) that has earned six consecutive Public Recognition Awards since the program began with APR data from 2004-05.
After the women's tennis team's six Public Recognition Awards, the Penn State field hockey team has five in the six years of the program and the softball and wrestling teams have four.
The Nittany Lion basketball team earned its second consecutive Public Recognition Award was one of three Big Ten squads recognized and among only 14 honorees of the 73 programs who are members of the "Power 6" conferences. Coach Ed DeChellis' squad was among 17 teams that qualified for the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship and is receiving a 2011 Public Recognition Award.
The aggregate 2009-10 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.
Last year's data revealed Penn State student-athletes make better progress toward graduation compared with the nation's Division I institutions, despite higher academic standards than required.
Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 27 Big Ten Championships during the past six years and a nation's-best 10 NCAA titles since March 2007, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:
The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide revealed in October, 2010 that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a record Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent compared to a 79 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2000-01 through 2003-04. The 90 percent figure was second to Northwestern (97) among Big Ten institutions.
The NCAA data also showed that student-athletes from 23 of Penn State's 25 teams (track/cross country teams combined) earned a Graduation Success Rate at or above the national GSR average of 79 percent. Eight Penn State squads earned a Graduation Success Rate of 100 percent and 21 of 25 Nittany Lion teams earned a GSR higher than or equal to the national average for their respective sport.
A total of 235 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2009-10. Accounting for fall and winter sports only, 122 student-athletes have garnered Academic All-Big Ten honors for the 2010-11 academic year thus far.
A total of 57 Penn State student-athletes were selected for the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award for earning a 3.7 GPA or higher during the 2009-10 academic year. The total was the second-highest among all conference institutions.
The Penn State football team again led the nation with three first-team Academic All-Americans® in 2010, including Chris Colasanti, Pete Massaro and Stefen Wisniewski. The Nittany Lions' 15 Academic All-Americans® over the past five years (13 first team selections) leads the nation.