Non-Power 5 Division I schools' athletic teams in the state of Arkansas had vastly positive Academic Progress Rates based on the NCAA's Tuesday release of its latest national APR data.
With the addition of the APR scores from the 2018-19 academic year, all but one of the men's and women's sports teams combined at Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff were above the required multiyear APR benchmark of 930.
The multiyear APR score accounts for the past four years combined, and a score of 930 is the minimum needed for teams to avoid any penalties from the NCAA and postseason ineligibility. According to the NCAA, APR is used to help measure "the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term."
The UAPB men's golf team had a multiyear APR of 872, but that was an improvement from last year's multiyear score of 857, which led to a level one penalty of practice reduction from the NCAA as well as ineligibility for the postseason this year. However, the team scored a 969 APR for the 2018-19 year. The NCAA has waived the team's level one penalty, and it is now eligible for the postseason, according to the latest data.
Every other team at ASU, UALR, UCA and UAPB figures to be eligible for the postseason in 2020-21.
UAPB's 14 teams averaged a combined 968 multiyear APR score, with two teams -- women's cross country and women's track -- posting perfect scores of 1,000. In 2018-19, the same two teams posted perfect scores of 1,000. The men's tennis team had a low score of 917 in 2018-19, but still had a multiyear rate of 969.
The football team posted a multiyear APR of 949, which ranked fifth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and a 955 for 2018-19.
ASU had four teams -- men's golf, women's golf, women's cross country and women's tennis -- earn perfect multiyear APR scores of 1,000. The lowest multiyear score (944) came from men's track, which also had the lowest 2018-19 APR score of all of ASU's teams at 935. ASU's 14 teams averaged a multiyear APR score of 982. For 2018-19, the Red Wolves' combined APR was a school-record 985, with seven teams scoring a perfect 1,000.
The football team scored the highest multiyear APR of the 10 football-playing members of the Sun Belt Conference at a school-record 972, which tied for 52nd nationally. That's an improvement from last year's multiyear score of 964, which was third in the Sun Belt then. The men's basketball team also posted a school-record 980 multiyear APR.
"There's no excuses to not be good in academics and athletics," ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Wednesday. "We feel like we do a good job of that, and you're here to go to college and you're here to get a degree and you're here to graduate and you're here to get a job and you're here to change your family's circumstances for life, and we believe in that."
UALR, one of the two nonfootball playing members in the Sun Belt, had a multiyear APR average of 971. No teams scored a perfect 1,000, but three -- men's golf (992), men's cross country (992) and women's golf (991) -- eclipsed 990 for the multiyear rate.
The lowest of the multiyear scores came from the men's basketball team, which was at 936, a slight increase from last year's multiyear rate of 931.
The team did, however, post a perfect 1,000 APR score for 2018-19 -- one of five UALR teams, along with baseball, men's cross country, men's golf and women's golf to do so for the latest year of data.
UALR's 12 teams averaged a 977 APR for the 2018-19 year. The women's cross country team scored a low 917 for 2018-19, but still had a multiyear APR of 958.
In regard to men's basketball, UALR Athletic Director George Lee said the team's roster turnover the past few years due to multiple coaching changes has contributed to a lower multiyear APR. Since the 2014-15 season, the Trojans have had Steve Shields, Chris Beard, Wes Flanigan and now Darrell Walker as head coaches.
"Changing from Chris Beard to Wes Flanigan to Darrell Walker, adding three different coaches in there, unfortunately you have some turnover," Lee told the Democrat-Gazette. "Every new coach wants their students, and they always end up keeping a decent number of the previous ones, but from an APR standpoint, you're looking at taking a hit."
UCA's 16 teams combined to average a multiyear APR score of 986, which saw four teams -- men's golf, women's beach volleyball, women's tennis and women's volleyball -- post perfect scores of 1,000 individually, while eight teams surpassed 990. The football team had a multiyear score of 965, which was the highest in the Southland Conference.
For 2018-19, UCA's teams averaged a combined APR of 987, with eight teams scoring a perfect 1,000.
UCA Athletic Director Brad Teague said the Bears had the highest APR of the 13 schools in the Southland this year.
"We're proud of it," Teague told the Democrat-Gazette. "We're very happy with what our coaches and student-athletes have done."
Sports on 05/21/2020
Print Headline: APR scores please athletic directors across state