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Razorbacks exceed benchmark

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks exceed benchmark

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas exceeds the benchmark Academic Progress Rate (APR) multi-year rate of 925 in 18 of its 19 intercollegiate sport programs for the second consecutive year. In addition, all 19 Razorback sport programs recorded a single-year rate exceeding the benchmark for the 2008-09 reporting period.

Fifteen of Arkansas’ 19 teams improved or maintained their APR since the previous report in 2009. Of those 15 programs, 12 sports increased their multi-year APR rate by four points or more.

For the first time since the inception of the APR, the NCAA released single-year rates for each sport program. Every University of Arkansas athletic program posted a single-year rate exceeding 930, including perfect 1,000 rates in men’s tennis, gymnastics, women’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis and volleyball. The program’s average APR rate for 2008-09 was 975.

The APR is based on academic eligibility and retention of student-athletes in each athletic program. This report’s multi-year scores are based on the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years.

"I am pleased that the majority of our sports have once again exceeded the benchmark and are making measureable progress in APR," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "A total of 15 of our programs improved or retained their multi-year APR scores this year while two other programs maintained their standing among our top APR performing teams. It is a credit to the efforts of our more than 460 Razorback student-athletes, coaches and staff that our program continues to achieve academically while competing athletically in the Southeastern Conference and nationally."

The Razorbacks have 16 programs with a multi-year rate of 950 or above including gymnastics at 995, women’s golf at 994 and soccer at 989.

The Razorback women’s golf team had a perfect 1000 APR last year and ranked in the top 10 percent in the country for academic success. The Razorback gymnastics team moved up four points from 991 a year ago to 995 this year taking over the top spot at Arkansas. Both programs have earned numerous academic honors from the Razorback Athletic Department, the Southeastern Conference, regional and national award programs and their respective coaches associations.

Men’s outdoor track and field made the largest improvement moving up 10 points in the multi-year rate. Baseball, men’s golf and women’s swimming and diving made nine-point improvements while men’s tennis and volleyball both improved eight points from the previous year.

Other teams that improved or remained the same include men’s cross country, football, men’s indoor track and field, women’s cross country, gymnastics, softball, women’s tennis, and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.

Men’s basketball multi-year rate of 886 was below the 925 benchmark. Programs with multi-year rates below the benchmark are subject to contemporaneous and historical penalties. The University of Arkansas was not assigned historical penalties by the NCAA "due to the team’s demonstrated academic improvement and favorable comparison based on other academic and other institutional factors." The men’s basketball program also will not be assigned contemporaneous penalties by the NCAA based on this APR report.

"We continue to closely monitor our APR performance in men’s basketball and have taken a number of strategic measures to address the core issues behind the numbers," Long said. "While we still face challenges that will prevent us from reaching the benchmark multi-year rate in the immediate future, I am confident that we have employed an aggressive approach that will result in continued improvement. The 933 single year rate is an indication we are making measurable progress. As administrators, we will continue to work with our coaching staff to equip student-athletes with both the opportunities and resources to enable them to meet their academic responsibilities as well as advance towards a degree."

"As a coaching staff and a program, we are focused on developing our student-athletes on and off the court," Pelphrey said. "Academically, we have continued to work closely with our administration and our academic support staff to assess our APR standing and to chart a course for improvement. Our ongoing dialogue about APR allows us to work together towards our academic goals. While I am encouraged by strides we have made in the past year, we still have work to do. Our focus will remain on fostering academic progress among our student-athletes and achieving sustained APR improvement that can be fully measured in the years to come."

Download: 2010 Arkansas APR Public Report.pdf



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