FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas had three head football coaches during a three-year period for 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Bobby Petrino, John L. Smith and Bret Bielema, but that shuffling hasn't put the program in jeopardy of suffering NCAA academic penalties.
While Arkansas' 935 multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) score for football released Wednesday -- covering the four academic years from 2010 through 2013 --ranks 13th among the SEC's 14 teams, it is above the NCAA's benchmark of 930.
Football's score for the 2012-13 academic year, which includes Smith as coach in the fall and Bielema in the spring, was 944.
Jon Fagg, Arkansas' senior associate athletic director who oversees compliance and academics, said Bielema stresses academic responsibility among his players, which should result in improved scores in the future.
"I think given all that we've been through the last couple of years, we feel fantastic about the score," Fagg said. "Kids are expected to go to school, expected to take academics seriously.
"I think we're tracking fine. We are not worried about being below 930."
Teams that fall below 930 are subject to NCAA penalties such as postseason bans and scholarship reductions, but all of Arkansas' 19 teams are above 930 for a second consecutive year.
APR scores are based on a formula with all student-athletes on any form of athletic scholarship being able to count for up to four points per year -- one for eligibility and one for retention for the fall and spring semesters.
The combined average for Arkansas' teams in all sports was above 970 for a third consecutive year, led by perfect scores of 1,000 by the men's and women's golf teams and the volleyball team.
"As an overall picture, I think we're on really solid ground," Fagg said. "We don't feel like anybody's going to drop below 930. Even these teams that are below 940, we track on it and we anticipate them going up in the long run."
Men's basketball, which lost a scholarship four years ago because of low APR scores in the past, had a multi-year score of 937 but a score of 902 for the 2012-13 academic year, which was impacted by the early departures of players Marshawn Powell and BJ Young. They apparently left the program without completing the spring semester, although student privacy laws prevent university officials from commenting directly on their academic status.
Six basketball players graduated this spring, including forward Alandise Harris, who will be a fifth-year senior eligibility-wise for the 2014-15 season.
Arkansas basketball's APR has turned around under Coach Mike Anderson.
"It's really hard to describe how much better we feel about it," said Fagg, who is the administrator for basketball and travels with the team. "Coach Anderson really does a great job of setting an entire culture for his team. On the court, off the court. Just being responsible generally."
Fagg said that when the Razorbacks return from road trips at 1 a.m., Anderson stresses to players they have to be in class.
"He's telling them, 'You've got a class in the morning, you're getting up, there will be class checkers. There will be people paying attention to you,' and he expects them to do it," Fagg said. "If they miss a class, they're getting in trouble."
Arkansas APR scores
Academic Progress Report (APR) scores for all University of Arkansas sports. The NCAA’s benchmark is 930:
SPORT MULTI 2012-13
Baseball 964 956
Basketball 937 902
Cross country 976 955
Football 995 944
Golf 1,000 1,000
Tennis 994 978
Indoor track 945 894
Outdoor track 943 918
SPORT MULTI 2012-13
Basketball 936 939
Cross country 973 966
Golf 1,000 1,000
Gymnastics 995 981
Soccer 992 980
Softball 964 959
Swimming 995 992
Tennis 960 900
Indoor track 959 958
Outdoor track 965 978
Volleyball 1,000 1,000
Sports on 05/15/2014
Print Headline: Hogs up to snuff in every program