- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2006

No area teams will be subject to penalties based on Academic Progress Rate data released yesterday by the NCAA.

Nationally, less than 2 percent of Division I teams will lose scholarships for failing to meet APR standards.

The NCAA designed the APR to act as an academic snapshot of all scholarship athletes in Division I. Each scholarship athlete can receive up to four points in an academic year — one each semester for remaining a full-time student or graduating and one each semester for remaining eligible for competition.

A team’s APR score is determined by dividing the points earned by scholarship athletes by the total points possible and multiplying by 1,000. Programs can receive bonus points if players who left school return to finish their degrees, a factor that particularly can help men’s basketball programs.

The NCAA established 925 (or roughly the equivalent of a 50 percent graduation rate) as a cut score for assessing penalties. Teams scoring below 925 (of a possible 1,000) can avoid penalties if they fall in a confidence interval, a factor that takes squad size into account.

The NCAA calculated APR scores for the first time last winter, but it waited until two years of data were available before assessing penalties. Programs faced a loss of up to 10 percent of their scholarships for an academic year.

The men’s basketball programs at Georgetown (963), Maryland (949) and George Washington (941) fared well, as did the football teams at Navy (986) and Maryland (947).

All of Maryland’s programs achieved the cut score. The three teams at Maryland that initially fell below the cut score of 925 last year — men’s basketball, men’s soccer and men’s swimming — moved above the figure this year. Both men’s basketball and men’s soccer (945) were above the national averages in their respective sports.

“We’re very happy that we’re above 925 for the two-year calculations, but we also know we have to keep working,” said Anton Goff, Maryland’s assistant athletic director for academic support and career development. “Every year this is going to be a score that comes out, and the scores build upon each other each year. … We think we have done pretty well as we look across other public universities and Division I schools.”

Goff said Maryland’s gymnastics, men’s basketball and men’s soccer teams received bonus points for former players returning to school and graduating.

The Maryland basketball team score means coach Gary Williams will have the 2009-10 season guaranteed on his contract if the Terrapins reach the NCAA tournament this month.

Williams’ new deal, signed in December, stipulates one of the option years on his contract will be guaranteed for every season the Terps meet the APR cut score and advance to the NCAA tournament.

The score for Maryland’s men’s basketball team ranked fifth in the ACC, while its football team was eighth. All 12 ACC football programs scored at least 933.

The George Mason men’s basketball team scored 918, below the cut score but well within the confidence interval necessary to avert any scholarship reductions.

“For having just two years of data, we are happy with our scores but not satisfied,” said Sue Collins, George Mason’s senior associate athletic director. “We have to be careful about projecting out after two years. With four years of data, we’ll have a much better idea.”

Georgetown’s basketball score ranked fourth in the Big East. None of the school’s programs scored below 925.

“The high ranking is gratifying but not surprising,” Georgetown athletic director Bernard Muir said. “We stand in the top percentiles, and it shows that our student-athletes are graduating or are making the steps toward earning their degree.”

Across town, George Washington had all but one of its programs meet the cut score. The Colonials’ men’s tennis team had a 911 score, which fell within the confidence interval.

“We’re OK,” George Washington athletic director Jack Kvancz said. “I would like to do better, and we have done better. Maybe we’d have to take a hard look, not because we are in jeopardy but maybe because we can do better than this.”

Only 99 teams nationally were subject to scholarship reductions. Football (23), baseball (21) and men’s basketball (17) were the most penalized sports.

Staff writers Barker Davis and Jon Siegel contributed to this article.

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