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Penn State student-athletes continue to excel and surpass Division I national averages, according to Academic Progress Rate (APR) data released today by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The NCAA reported six Penn State squads earned perfect multi-year APR scores of 1,000 through the 2013-14 academic year: field hockey, men's cross country, women's cross country, women's golf, women's hockey and men's tennis. Eighteen Penn State squads equaled or surpassed their multi-year APR score from the 2014 report.
"It is gratifying to see that our student-athletes continue to surpass expectations both on the field and in the classroom," said Penn State President Eric Barron. "The discipline and commitment it takes to excel in so many areas is impressive, and the fact that continued improvement by our students is part of the equation is even more impressive."
Ten Nittany Lion teams earned perfect APR scores in 2013-14 that are reflected in the latest multi-year APR report. The 10 squads with 1,000 APR figures are: baseball, men's basketball, men's cross country, women's fencing, field hockey, men's golf, women's golf, women's hockey, women's lacrosse and men's tennis.
The NCAA released data through 2013-14 as the 11th set of APR results, a formula introduced as part of the Division I Academic Performance Program. The NCAA released sport specific data for 2013-14 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.
"We are proud of our many academic successes and I applaud our highly-motivated student-athletes, coaches, the Morgan Academic Center staff and faculty for their dedicated efforts," stated Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. "We are focused, though, on our work ahead. We will not rest until we reach our goals of having all 31 programs with 100 percent graduation rates and perfect APR scores. We have dedicated ICA staff and members of the Penn State community striving every day to provide the best possible support and conditions for our student-athletes to succeed academically and after they graduate. Our students and our community deserve our very best effort, every day."
The average multi-year APR score for Penn State's 31 varsity teams is 984, easily above the Division I average of 978, according to the NCAA.
Penn State has had six squads with multi-year 1,000 APR scores in each of the past three years, tied for the second-highest total behind seven teams through 2004-05, when the data consisted of two years, not the four years presently reported.
The Penn State field hockey and women's tennis teams have earned nine multi-year 1,000 APR scores in the 10 years the NCAA has announced multi-year data. The women's cross county and women's golf squads are next with six multi-year 1,000 APR scores, followed by men's cross country and women's lacrosse with four perfect APR scores each.
Overall Highlights of Penn State's Academic Progress Report for 2013-14:
- The men's cross country, women's cross country, field hockey, women's golf, women's hockey and men's tennis teams earned perfect multi-year APR scores of 1,000 and were joined by the wrestling team in earning NCAA Public Recognition Awards (see below); - Among Penn State's 31 varsity teams, 22 have a four-year APR score at or above the NCAA Division I average 978 for all sports; - 23 of 31 teams have a score equal to or above the NCAA Division I average for their respective sport; - 30 of 31 Penn State teams have an APR score of 955 or higher (25 points above the NCAA's 930 figure for possible penalties);
Team Highlights of Penn State's Academic Progress Report for 2013-14:
- The football team earned an APR score of 956, an increase of two points from last year during the sanctions period and above the overall Division I football average of 955 and the Div. I football public institution average of 951; - The Nittany Lion basketball team earned an APR score of 970, an improvement of six points from last year, 10 points higher than the Division I men's basketball average of 960 and 13 points above the Div. I men's basketball public institution average of 957; - The Lady Lion basketball team posted an APR score of 979, four points higher than the Division I women's basketball average of 975 and eight points above the Div. I women's basketball public institution average of 971; - The wrestling team delivered an APR score of 992, an improvement of 15 points from last year and 29 points higher than the Division I wrestling average (and public institution average) of 963; - The baseball squad earned an APR score of 990, six points higher than last year and 23 points above the Division I baseball average of 967; - The women's soccer team posted an APR score of 993, four points higher than in 2014 and 10 points above the Division I women's soccer average of 983; - The men's fencing team improved its APR score by 14 points and the women's fencing squad boosted its APR figure by 12 points from 2014;
Seven Nittany Lions squads earned multi-year APR scores through 2013-14 that rank in the Top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport: men's cross country, women's cross country, field hockey, women's golf, women's hockey, men's tennis and wrestling. Earlier this month, those seven squads earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards for their superlative APR scores, bringing Penn State's 10-year total to 64 Public Recognition honors.
Penn State student-athletes, who have captured a conference-best 18 Big Ten Championships and five NCAA titles since September 2012, 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 82 percent average for all Division I institutions. The 89 percent figure was second-highest, to Northwestern, among Big Ten Conference institutions.
Academic Progress Rate
The APR scores are a measure of eligibility and retention/graduation for each student-athlete receiving athletic aid during the identified academic semester/year. Retention is evaluated for each student-athlete with the following question in mind: Did that student-athlete return to the institution the next semester (students can earn two points after the fall semester and two points after the spring and summer semesters). Eligibility is evaluated using NCAA, conference (if applicable), and institutional standards.
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.