FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas' gymnastics and men's tennis programs have been honored by the NCAA for outstanding academic performances with each team receiving public recognition for ranking among the top 10 percent nationally in their respective sport in multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR).
The rankings are for the 2010-11 academic year, and this is the first time two Razorback programs have been recognized in the same year.
"We are extremely proud that our gymnastics and men's tennis teams have been recognized by the NCAA as some of the nation's elite academic teams," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long says. "Both programs continue to demonstrate a commitment to athletic and academic achievement as well as fostering advancement toward a college degree. These programs represent the very core of our mission of developing student-athletes through intercollegiate athletics. Congratulations to our student-athletes, coaches and staff on this remarkable accomplishment."
The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation, and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.
Each year the NCAA honors selected Division I sports teams by publicly recognizing their latest multiyear NCAA Division I APR. This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight teams that demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports.
This is the second straight year for gymnastics to earn the public recognition honor. Last year's was the first for a Southeastern Conference gymnastics program since 2006.
"We had a very successful season in the gym and in the classroom," co-head coach Rene Lyst says. "To be able to make the Super Six and have our second straight public recognition from the NCAA for our multi-year APR give us a lot of pride in our team and our program. We continue to strive to have each of our student-athletes reach their potential in the gym and in the classroom."
Tennis is the first Razorback men's sport to be recognized for its APR ranking. In 25 seasons, head coach Robert Cox has graduated every student-athlete to complete his athletic eligibility with the Razorbacks, and has guided Arkansas to more than 300 wins.
"I'm very proud of the hard work our guys put in and it's an honor to be recognized by the NCAA," Cox says. "We've created a culture and academics are part of our overall program. We are thankful for (Associate Athletic Director for Academics and Student-Athlete Development) Eric Wood and everyone in the academic center, and for the resources that are provided to our student-athletes by their staff and Jeff Long. We take full advantage of all of those things."
Overall, Razorback teams have been recognized seven times in the last seven years.
The APR benchmark multi-year rate is 925. Teams receiving public recognition awards posted APR scores ranging from 977 to 1,000. The NCAA is announcing multi-year APR scores for all Division I teams on June 20.