Student-Athletes Continue to Surpass National Academic Averages

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May 10, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Penn State student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom and surpass Division I national averages, according to Academic Progress Rate (APR) data released today by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The NCAA reported that 18 Penn State teams earned perfect APR scores of 1,000 in 2015-16, up from 13 in last year's report and 10 squads in 2013-14, representing a 44 percent improvement over the past two years. A total of 22 squads (out of 29) equaled or surpassed their yearly APR score from 2014-15 and 18 teams equaled or surpassed their multi-year (four-year) APR score from the 2016 report.

The Penn State women's tennis and women's volleyball squads earned perfect multi-year (2012-13 through 2015-16) APR scores of 1,000. The women's tennis team has earned a perfect multi-year Academic Progress Rate score in 11 of the 12 years the NCAA has released APR data. Women's volleyball became the 13th different Nittany Lion squad to post at least one perfect 1,000 APR score.

"There are many reasons to be proud of our student-athletes--winning national championships, incredible service work, leadership on and off the field--but nothing makes me happier than to see a dramatic increase in the number of teams with perfect APRs," said Penn State President Eric Barron. "Over the last two years, the number of teams with perfect APRs has nearly doubled, which is a credit to the student-athletes, coaches, and faculty and staff who support them year-round. Congratulations to everyone involved on a truly remarkable achievement."

"Penn State student-athletes consistently demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the classroom and all their academic endeavors," stated Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. "I am constantly amazed by, and appreciative of, their efforts to prove that academic achievement and athletic success can co-exist at a high level.

"Penn State's point of difference is the level to which our student-athletes achieve academically while competing for championships," Barbour added. "This achievement only comes as the result of a collective and dedicated effort, and our coaches, Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty, support staff and the Office of Undergraduate Education all deserve our thanks for their contribution to these accomplishments. We are proud of these academic achievements, however, we will always strive to do better."

Eighteen Penn State teams earn Perfect 1,000 APR Scores in 2015-16
The 18 Penn State teams that earned perfect APR scores of 1,000 in 2015-16 were: baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's fencing, women's fencing, men's golf, women's golf, men's hockey, men's lacrosse, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving, women's tennis, women's track and field, men's volleyball, women's volleyball and wrestling.

The Penn State men's and women's fencing, women's soccer, women's volleyball and wrestling squads have all won NCAA Championships since 2014.

Nittany Lions' Multi-Year APR Average Up Two Points from 2016 Report
The average multi-year APR score for Penn State's 29 varsity teams is 986, up two points from last year, and well above the Division I average of 981, according to the NCAA. All 29 squads have a multi-year APR score of 965 or higher (35 points above the NCAA's 930 figure for possible penalties). The men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field teams are combined in the APR data, reducing the number of Penn State teams from 31 to 29 in the compilation.

The Penn State women's tennis team has earned 11 multi-year 1,000 APR scores in the 12 years the NCAA has announced multi-year data. The field hockey squad has earned nine multi-year 1,000 APR scores, followed by women's cross country and wrestling with seven and women's golf with six.

Nittany Lion Basketball Earns 10-Point Multi-Year APR Improvement; Football Up Nine Points
The men's basketball (+10 points), women's basketball (+5) and football (+9) teams were among the 15 Penn State squads that improved their multi-year APR scores from the 2016 report. The largest gain was made by the women's fencing squad (+17), followed by men's basketball, football, men's golf (+7), men's hockey (+7), men's soccer (+7), men's lacrosse (+6) and men's volleyball (+6).

Penn State Teams With Multi-Year APR 10+ Points Higher Than Div. I Sport Average
(Through 2015-16)

APR Difference with Sport Avg.
Wrestling 996 + 23
Baseball 988 + 15
Men's Basketball 980 + 14
Women's Volleyball 1,000 + 13
Women's Tennis 1,000 + 12
Women's Soccer 996 + 10
Women's Track & Field 992 + 10

Overall Highlights of Penn State's Academic Progress Report for 2015-16:

  • The women's tennis and women's volleyball teams earned perfect multi-year APR scores of 1,000 and were joined by the wrestling team in earning NCAA Public Recognition Awards for having an APR in the top 10 percent for their respective sport;
  • Among Penn State's 29 varsity teams, 24 squads have a score equal to or above the NCAA Division I average for their respective sport, an increase of five teams over last year;
  • 21 teams have a four-year APR score at or above the NCAA Division I average 981 for all sports.
Team Highlights of Penn State's Academic Progress Report for 2015-16:
  • The 2017 NCAA Championship wrestling team earned a multi-year APR score of 996, up four points from last year and 23 points above the Division I average of 973. The Nittany Lions posted their third consecutive yearly 1,000 APR score and garnered a third consecutive NCAA Public Recognition Award;
  • The women's volleyball squad earned a multi-year APR score of 1,000, up five points from last year and 13 points higher than the Div. I average of 987;
  • The Nittany Lion basketball squad delivered a multi-year APR score of 980, up 10 points from last year. Penn State's APR is 14 points higher than the Div. I men's basketball average of 966 and 17 points above the Div. I men's basketball public institution average of 963;
  • The football team earned a multi-year APR score of 969, an increase of nine points from last year and 13 points (956) from two years ago (end of sanctions period). The Nittany Lions' multi-year APR is easily above the overall Division I football average of 962 and the Div. I football public institution average of 959. The squad's four-year APR score has been above the Div. I football average in all 12 annual NCAA APR reports.
Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 30 Big Ten Championships and conference-best eight NCAA titles since September 2012, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Last October, the NCAA's annual study of institutions across the nation revealed Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent compared to the 84 percent average for all Division I institutions.

Academic Progress Rate
The NCAA released data through 2015-16 as the 12th set of APR results, a formula introduced as part of the Division I Academic Performance Program. The NCAA released sport specific data for 2015-16 to each institution, as well as the most recent four years of collected data that is used to determine a rolling four-year (multi-year) APR score for all athletic teams to provide a meaningful assessment of a team's academic performance.

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 each term to provide a clear measure of each team's academic performance.

The APR is based on four years of data, with the most current year's data added and the oldest year removed to create a four-year (multi-year) rolling rate. Penalties can be applied if an athletic team's multi-year APR score is below 930.

 

 

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