Around this time every year, people pretend to know precisely how the Academic Performance Report (APR) is calculated — and then pretend to care about the results.
In the NCAA system for measuring academic progress toward graduation, a school’s sports programs must each maintain at least a .930 APR (out of a possible 1.000) over a four-year period in order to maintain eligibility for postseason play in their respective sports. A two-year score of .940 or above would also allow a program to be eligible for postseason competition if it was below .930 for the four-year period.
Last May, Idaho and UNLV were banned from postseason play in football because of their scores below the .930 benchmark, although the Rebels had their bowl eligibility reinstated after what was described as “score adjustments.” Additionally, Oklahoma State was docked practice time because it failed to reach the minimum threshold. The Cowboys avoided a postseason ban because its two-year average was half a point above the .940 standard.
Fast-forward 12 months, and no FBS programs are facing postseason ineligibility because of APR scores (link HERE), which this year are based on performances from the 2010-11 academic year through 2013-2014. In fact, there are no FBS programs at any of the three levels of penalties in the NCAA’s APR structure, which is explained below:
Level One penalties focus on practice restrictions, allowing teams to use that time to focus on academics. Teams facing this penalty lose four hours and one day of practice time per week in season, replaced with academic activities. This year, 13 teams face this level of penalty.
Level Two penalties include the Level One penalty and a reduction of four hours of practice time out of season replaced with academic activities. This level also includes the elimination of the nonchampionship season or spring football. Teams without nonchampionship seasons face a reduced number of contests. This year, 11 teams fall in this category.
Level Three penalties include all Level One and Two penalties, plus a menu of potential additional penalties. These can include scholarship reductions; additional practice and contest restrictions; coach-specific penalties (including game and recruiting restrictions); restricted access to practice for incoming students who fall below certain academic standards; restricted membership; and potential multi-year bans on postseason competition. In 2014-15, four teams face this level of penalty.
There are five FCS programs slapped with postseason ineligibility for the 2015 season: Alabama State, Florida A&M, Gardner-Webb, Savannah State and Tennessee State.
Not surprisingly, Oklahoma State has the lowest APR of all Power Five programs at .934. That is, though, an improvement over the previous four-year period that cost the Cowboys practice time.
UPDATED 2:22 p.m. ET: While not listed in the NCAA’s release on the list of football teams facing postseason bans, Idaho’s APR was once again well under the .930 threshold. It’s unclear why the Vandals did not make the list of penalized teams, although we’ve reached out to both the school and The Association for clarification.
UPDATED 3:43 p.m. ET: Thew following is from a press release sent out by the Wisconsin sports information department.
The Wisconsin football team’s multiyear Academic Progress Rate of 998 is the top mark of all FBS teams in the country according to the NCAA’s release on Wednesday. The Badgers lead a top five that includes Northwestern (992), Duke (992), Michigan (990) and Stanford (987).