Michigan State teams steer clear of academic penalties The Enlightened Spartan: Michigan State teams steer clear of academic penalties

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Michigan State teams steer clear of academic penalties

MSU's Academic Progress Rates (APR) for all its sport teams steered well clear of the NCAA minimums for fear of reprimand and any loss of scholarships or postseason ban -- unlike the University of Connecticut, whose men's basketball team's 889 APR score led them to a loss of practice time and disqualified them for the 2012-2013 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

What is the APR and why does it matter?
As the ES has noted in previous posts (here and here), the APR is published as a four-year average which generally measures the retention (staying at MSU) and academic eligibility (above the schools minimum cumulative GPA) of every scholarship athlete on a team.  This measurement is far from perfect, as there are many situations (health, family, returning to finish after six-years, etc) that are or are not built into the APR calculations.  But, this is the accepted policy today.  Thus, the NCAA figures a 50-percent graduation rate over six-years is a reasonable benchmark for college athletes (and that is higher than the general regular, non-athlete student body average). A 1000 APR is a perfect score, with 100% projected graduation rates.  For years, the NCAA projected an APR score of 925 to be approximately a 50% average for an athlete to get a degree in six years. If a team fell below a 925 (now the mark is 930), then a team would be subject to sanction - that sanction now includes a mandatory post-season ban (including conference championships) for both men's basketball and football.  This 930 minimum for sanction will change over the next few years as the NCAA moves this average up to an APR of 940; and the measurement for sanctions are a bit more complicated...(link here). 

What about MSU?  Men's Hoops one-year score dips in 2011
This year, the Spartans came across in flying colors in all their sports.  Football was a concern a few years ago as it teetered the 925-benchmark, but a 943 average shows a significant improvement, especially with the largest scholarship roster size (of 85)... which means one player who struggles academically and leaves the institution does not impact the APR scores as much as one men's basketball player on a roster of 13. What is interesting is what the ES predicted: a one year drop in MSU's men's hoops APR down to 902 because of various defections (Korie Lucious and Chris Allen, most notably).  However, as this is a four-year average, it has a minimal impact at this time, so long as these defections are not a commonality.  Notably, Delvon Roe's leaving the team did NOT affect the APR because he remained a student at MSU (retained) and was academically eligible. 

AND, what you will notice - is the one year lag in APR scores, because it takes a year for APR to go through the NCAA's system of checks and error corrections before it is reported.  Anyways, here are the Spartans' most recent APR scores:

Baseball    984          
Field Hockey    972          
Football    943          
Men's Basketball    981          
Men's Cross Country    974          
Men's Golf    944          
Men's Ice Hockey    967          
Men's Soccer    978          
Men's Swimming    988          
Men's Tennis    1000          
Men's Track, Indoor    954          
Men's Track, Outdoor    953          
Men's Wrestling    991          
Softball    983          
Women's Basketball    1000          
Women's Cross Country    986          
Women's Golf    979          
Women's Gymnastics    995          
Women's Rowing    990          
Women's Soccer    992          
Women's Swimming    977          
Women's Tennis    984          
Women's Track, Indoor    981          
Women's Track, Outdoor    982          
Women's Volleyball    980