May 14, 2014
By Jack Bogaczyk
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - On the APR, Marshall University is more than A-OK.
The NCAA revealed the Division I Academic Progress Rate numbers for 2012-13 on Wednesday, and Marshall's figures were their most impressive since college athletics' governing organization began tracking APR with the 2004-05 school year.
Last week, the Thundering Herd tennis team received public recognition with other programs in the top 10 percent nationally in their sports. Coach John Mercer's program - with four straight years of perfect 1000 scores - got plenty of company a week later.
The NCAA tracks the APR in single-year and multiyear rates -- the latter over a four-year span, or 2009-10 through 2012-13 -- for the figures revealed Wednesday.
Marshall had nine of its 16 programs with perfect 1000 single-year scores - men's cross country, and women's teams in cross country, golf, tennis, softball, soccer, swimming, indoor track and outdoor track.
Six teams had single-year APR climbs of 20 or more points, too - swimming (plus-31), football (plus-27), softball (plus-24), women's soccer (plus-24) men's cross country (plus-23) and baseball (plus-21).
"Simply amazing!" Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said. "This past year we had nine teams have a perfect score of 1000. In all my time in this business, I've never witnessed this accomplishment. Also, all our sports are doing very well from a multiyear perspective. These numbers are a testament to the dedication and hard work put forth by our student-athletes, coaches and academic support staff in the Buck Harless Student-Athlete Program.
"Our commitment to academics is obvious in these numbers, too, and we will have a great opportunity to add to this success - or even enhance those numbers -- when the Buck Harless program moves in January into our new Academic Center that's a prominent piece of the Indoor Athletic Facility."
In those multiyear rates referenced by Hamrick, 10 of the 16 Marshall sports showed point increases from last year's multiyear figures. Three other programs stayed the same (including tennis' 1000), and two other programs fell by only one point. Men's basketball's multiyear rate is up 20 points from two years ago.
Eight of the 16 Herd teams had multiyear rates of 985 or higher.
The NCAA reported that the new multiyear national average for the Division I APR is 976. Marshall's multiyear average is 975.
"Our most recent scores indicate that our student-athletes are maintaining their eligibility and remaining at Marshall at a higher rate than any other time over the past 10 years," said Andrew Donovan, MU associate AD for compliance. "To have more than half of our sports achieve perfect APR scores is extremely impressive.
"It is a testament to the hard work of our student-athletes, and shows the existence of a strong support system provided by our coaches, advisors in the Buck Harless Student-Athlete Program, and all members of the Marshall community."
Marshall also performed well in two other academic measurements tracked as part of the APR - eligibility-/graduation and retention.
The Herd had 11 sports with perfect 1000s in eligibility/retention for 2012-13, and 10 perfect scores in retention on the single-year measurement. Men's cross country and golf and women's tennis also had 1000 scores in multiyear retention measurement.
"These outstanding results are borne of an earnest commitment from leadership across all of our athletics programs to the academic success of our student-athletes," said Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, president of MU. "I expect all of our coaches and administrators to share the same commitment to the academic success of our student-athletes.
"Earning their college degree is of paramount importance, in addition to their performance on the playing surface."
Dr. Karen McComas, Marshall's faculty representative for athletics, said the academic performances and increases in APR points are crucial.
For 2014-15 championships, teams must earn a 930 four-year average APR or a 940 average over the most recent two years to be eligible to participate. In 2015-16 and beyond, teams must earn a four-year APR of 930 to compete in championships.
All Marshall teams currently meet that 930 multiyear number in the APR measurements announced Wednesday.
"We are proud of all of our scholar-athletes for meeting their goals in their classrooms," McComas said. "Every team achieved the required APR score and will be eligible for championships in the upcoming competition year Ã¢â'¬Â¦ These successes are the result of extraordinary academic support teams, consisting of the scholar-athletes, a dedicated and caring faculty, and our academic advisors."
The NCAA holds Division I institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through the Academic Progress Rate, a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete over each term.
Every Division I school calculates its APR each academic year. Scholarship student-athletes each semester receive one point for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or graduating. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face consequences, including practice restrictions and playing season reductions.
The NCAA also provides APR adjustments for student-athletes who transfer to another four-year school after earning a 2.6 grade point average and those who leave in good academic standing for professional sports careers.
A look at Marshall's multiyear and single-year (2012-13) APR rates reported Wednesday by the NCAA:
Cross Country (M)
Cross Country (W)