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Southern Miss Announces 2008 Academic Performance Rates

May 9, 2008

Academic progress rates (APR) for all University of Southern Mississippi student-athletes were released earlier this week.

The Academic Progress Rate, now in its fourth year, measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. It also serves as a predictor of graduation success. The most recent APR scores are based on a multi-year rate that averages scores from the 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 academic years.

The APR is based on each student-athlete having the opportunity to earn two points during each regular academic term of full-time enrollment (e.g., fall semester). One point is awarded if the student-athlete is academically eligible to compete the following regular academic term (or has graduated). The other point is awarded if the student-athlete returns to the institution as a full-time student the next regular academic term or graduate from the university. The APR is calculated by adding all points earned by student-athletes over the past two academic years and dividing that number by the total possible points that could have been earned. That number is then multiplied by 1,000.

When a team's academic performance, measured by that team's APR, falls below 925, that team becomes subject to penalties if any student-athlete on that team did not return to the institution as a full-time student and was not academically eligible when the student-athlete left the institution. This penalty is known as a contemporaneous penalty and potentially limits the amount of athletics aid that the team may award.

Southern Miss' multi-year academic progress rates for individual sports were:

Men's SportsAPR
Track, Indoor940
Track, Outdoor948
Women's SportsAPR
Cross Country972
Track, Indoor964
Track, Outdoor965

Baseball, which had a APR of 978, received a special recognition by the NCAA for being in the 90-100 percentile for its sport. The baseball program was one of just two programs in the state of Mississippi to earn special recognition by the NCAA.

"A lot of time and energy is expended in working with our coaches and student-athletes on putting together the right plan for them to achieve on both the field and in the classroom," said senior associate director of athletics for compliance and student services Jason Gray. "This is the fourth year of the NCAA's program of academic reform with their APR system.

"We work very hard academically to make sure our student-athletes are on tract to graduate in a timely manner. Our issues in basketball are not academically related, however, it pertains to retention rates. Some of the retention rates are beyond our control. Whenever you have coaching changes, it affects retention rates nationally. We continue to work hard with our coaches to monitor and improve our APR rates."

Only two programs fell below the mandated 925 APR score - men's basketball at 891 and women's basketball at 917 - but neither sports suffered penalties or official warnings. The men's basketball program received a waiver regarding Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while the women's basketball program was not penalized due to not having a player leave while ineligible.

Every team posting an APR score below 925 is required to develop a specific academic improvement plan. Teams posting APR scores below 900 must submit those plans to the NCAA national office for review.

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