April 20, 2005
Yale Swimming and Diving teams both recorded perfect 1000 scores, the highest academic progress rate (APR) out of 342 Division I school teams, in data recently released by the NCAA. The APR, a numerical representation of whether a school's athletes remain at the school and stay academically eligible until graduation, is part of a new program designed to hold college athletics to a higher academic standard. Yale was one of only 21 schools that scored a double 1000, with the men's program being one of 30 and the women's program being one of 33 receiving perfect marks. Both scores were well above the nationwide average of 967 for men and 975 for women. Only one other Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania, received perfect marks.
Better than 10% percent of Division I schools were shown to have at least one program that did not reach the benchmark score of 925, which projects a 50 percent graduation rate, or failed to report scores. Further information on the complete report can be found on line at www.collegeswimming.com.
The initial APRs are warning shots. Severe penalties for deficient programs will begin kicking in next fall, when a two-year average of academic performance is available. At that time, teams below the benchmark will not be able to replace scholarship players who leave while academically ineligible. Chronically underperforming teams will be banned from the postseason beginning in 2008. Finally, as early as 2009 the harshest measure could be applied to schools with the most persistent of delinquents--restricted NCAA membership, precluding all postseason participation for the entire athletic program.
Walter Harrison, University of Hartford President and head of the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance, hopes that presidents, athletic directors, and coaches will use the new ratings as motivation to improve. "The point of this," Harrison said, "Is to change behavior."
report by Tynan Granberg, Yale Sports Publicity