Student-Athletes Continue to Eclipse National Academic Averages

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May 23, 2018

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 12 Penn State teams earned perfect APR scores of 1,000 during the 2016-17 academic year. Four of the 12 squads have won NCAA Championships since 2014 (see below). A total of 19 teams (out of 29) equaled or surpassed their multi-year (four-year) APR score from the 2017 NCAA APR report, an increase of one from last year.

Women's Fencing, Men's Golf, Women's Tennis and Women's Volleyball Post Perfect Multi-year 1,000 APR Scores
Four Penn State squads, two more than last year, earned perfect multi-year (2013-14 through 2016-17) APR scores of 1,000: women's fencing, men's golf, women's tennis and women's volleyball. The women's tennis team has delivered a perfect multi-year APR score in 12 of the 13 years the NCAA has released APR data. The women's volleyball team posted its second consecutive multi-year 1,000 APR score.

The women's fencing and men's golf teams earned multi-year APR scores of 1,000 for the first time to become the 14th and 15th different Nittany Lion squads to post at least one perfect 1,000 APR score.

"Balancing a full academic schedule, demanding daily practices, service work, and fierce competitions is the challenge for student-athletes, and it's incredibly difficult," said Penn State President Eric Barron. "The APR scores are evidence of the discipline, commitment to excellence, and the dedication to success that is practiced by our student-athletes and reinforced by the coaches, faculty, advisors and staff who support them. Congratulations on another exceptional year!"

"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. Our coaches, Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty and support staff all deserve our thanks for their contribution to these accomplishments. We are proud of these academic successes, however, we will always strive to do better."

Twelve Teams Earn Perfect 1,000 APR Scores in 2016-17
The 12 Penn State teams that earned perfect APR scores of 1,000 in 2016-17 were: women's cross country, women's fencing, men's golf, women's golf, men's hockey, women's hockey, women's lacrosse, women's soccer, women's tennis, women's track & field, women's volleyball and wrestling.

The women's fencing and men's golf teams have posted four consecutive years with 1,000 yearly APR scores, while the women's soccer, women's tennis, women's volleyball and wrestling teams have three consecutive years with perfect yearly APR scores.

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 Again Exceeds Division I Average
The average multi-year APR score for Penn State's 29 varsity teams is 985, above the Division I average of 983, according to the NCAA. All 29 squads have a multi-year APR score of 950 or higher (20 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 12 multi-year 1,000 APR scores in the 13 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.

Football Earns 11-Point Multi-Year APR Improvement; Women's Fencing Up 18 Points
The Penn State squads that delivered the biggest improvements to their multi-year APR scores from the 2017 report were: women's fencing (+18), football (+11), men's hockey (+9), men's golf (+7), men's soccer (+7), baseball (+5) and women's lacrosse (+5).

Overall Highlights from Penn State's Academic Progress Report for 2016-17:

  • The women's fencing, men's golf, 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, 20 squads have a score equal to or above the NCAA Division I average for their respective sport.
Team Highlights from Penn State's Academic Progress Report for 2016-17:
  • The 2018 NCAA Championship wrestling team earned a multi-year APR score of 996, 21 points above the Division I average of 975 and at least eight points higher than every other Big Ten team. The Nittany Lions, who have won seven of the last eight NCAA titles, posted their third consecutive yearly 1,000 APR score and garnered a fourth consecutive NCAA Public Recognition Award.
  • The 2017 Big Ten Championship women's volleyball squad posted its second consecutive multi-year APR score of 1,000, 12 points higher than the Div. I average of 988 and earned a second consecutive NCAA Public Recognition Award.
  • The 2017 Fiesta Bowl Championship football team earned a multi-year APR score of 980, an increase of 11 points from last year and 24 points higher (956) from three years ago (end of sanctions period). The Nittany Lions' multi-year APR is 16 points above the overall Division I football average of 964 and 18 points higher than the Div. I football public institution average of 962. The squad's four-year APR score has been above the Div. I football average in all 13 annual NCAA APR reports.
  • The 2018 NIT Championship men's basketball squad delivered a multi-year APR score of 975. Penn State's APR is eight points higher than the Div. I men's basketball average of 967 and 11 points above the Div. I men's basketball public institution average of 964.
  • The women's hockey team earned a multi-year APR score of 997 to lead the four Big Ten women's hockey teams. The Nittany Lions' APR score is five points higher than the Div. I women's hockey average of 992 and eight points above the public institution average of 989.
Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 33 conference championships (26 Big Ten) and a Big Ten-best eight NCAA titles since the 2013 fall semester, consistently are among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Last November, the NCAA's annual graduation report of revealed Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus tied the school record with a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent compared to the 86 percent average for all Division I institutions. Nine Nittany Lions team earned a 100 percent graduation rate in the NCAA report.

Academic Progress Rate
The NCAA released data through 2016-17 as the 13th set of APR results, a formula introduced as part of the Division I Academic Performance Program. The NCAA released sport specific data for 2016-17 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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