HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Academic Progress Rates (APR) for the 2010-11 academic year for all Southern Miss student-athletes were released Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The APR, now in its eighth year, is a real-time measure of eligibility and retention of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. The most recent APR scores are based on a multiyear rate that averages scores from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.
Of the 16 sports programs at Southern Miss, 12 of the squads ranked above 950 with a high of 1000 by the men's golf program for their multiyear rate. The team was cited by the NCAA earlier this week as one of 59 men's golf programs to be recognized by the organization for their outstanding achievements in the classroom.
The next highest squad was the volleyball program at 988, followed by the women's soccer team with a 987 and the men's tennis program at 980.
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 the points earned by the 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.
"We have continued to see improvement in our APR scores including four of our programs, men's golf, men's tennis, women's cross country and women's golf, that all achieved a perfect 1000 during the 2010-11 academic year," said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeff Hammond. "I commend our coaches and our student-athletes who strive to balance both their academic endeavors as well as their athletic exploits in representing The University of Southern Mississippi in an extremely positive manner.
"I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of our athletic academic staff, which provides tremendous support in giving our student-athletes the tools to be successful in the classroom."
The multiyear rate for baseball was next at 976, followed by women's cross country at 970, women's indoor and outdoor track at 969 each, women's tennis and women's golf at 961 each, softball at 960, men's indoor track at 957, women's basketball at 955, men's outdoor track at 948, football at 930 and men's basketball at 922.
Under the revised penalty structure, the Division I Board of Directors has set a cut score of 900 (out of 1000) as a threshold for teams to meet or face possible sanctions. That cut score will increase to 930 in a few years. An APR of 930 projects a 50 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR).
The goal of the NCAA's academic performance program is improvement, not punishment. Not only does the program ensure accountability for student-athletes, teams and institutions, but also it provides fairness by considering individual circumstances per team and school.