- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2009

George Washington’s men’s basketball team was docked one scholarship for failing to meet the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate cut score, the highest-profile of three area programs to suffer penalties in the annual evaluation.

In a prepared statement, the school said the four-year score of 917 — below the NCAA-mandated 925 and down from 946 a year ago — was “due largely to attrition.”

“The GW athletics department is working closely with other areas of the university community to evaluate and assess this attrition issue,” the statement said. “The information gathered by this evaluation and assessment will assist the department in creating a plan to aid in the retention of student-athletes.”

Through a school spokesman, both athletic director Jack Kvancz and basketball coach Karl Hobbs declined further comment, deferring to the university statement.

Scholarship athletes can earn as many as four points in a year — one for each semester as a full-time student or for graduation, and another for maintaining eligibility for both semesters. Each program’s score is computed by dividing the points team members earn by the points available and multiplying the total by 1,000.

This year’s APR covers academic performance from the 2004-05 to 2007-08 school years. George Washington has lost several players before their eligibility expired in that span, a group that partially includes NBA draftee J.R. Pinnock and transfers Ricky Lucas and Montrell McDonald. George Washington also dismissed Miles Beatty, Cheyenne Moore and Maureece Rice from the program in 2008.

Although it is not reflected in the data, two more Colonials players left the program this year as George Washington missed the Atlantic 10 tournament for the second straight season. Xavier Alexander withdrew from school in January, and Matt Allbritton was granted a release to transfer in March.

Two other area programs lost scholarships. The George Mason men’s volleyball program was penalized 0.14 of its four scholarships, while Howard’s football team was docked half a scholarship. The Bison, who lost 2.91 football scholarships last year, demonstrated improvement with an increase from 916 to 919 in the APR.

The Maryland basketball program recorded a score of 912, a bump up from 906 last year but still below the cut score. However, the Terps avoided any penalties. They had no players who neither remained eligible nor stayed enrolled on last season’s roster.

Both James Gist and Bambale Osby graduated in 2008, and Dave Neal is expected to do so later this month, meaning Maryland will have six of its eight scholarship seniors graduate over the last three years.

“Our rate is higher than last year and, once again, we’re not in danger of losing any scholarships,” coach Gary Williams said in a statement. “We’re constantly reviewing our progress in this area and our results are consistently showing an upward trend.”

The basketball programs at American (966), George Mason (995), Georgetown (942), Navy (982), Virginia (932) and Virginia Tech (943) all met the cut score. Howard (895) was not subject to penalties because it showed improvement and made a favorable comparison based on academic and institutional factors.

In addition, the football teams at Maryland (931), Navy (978), Virginia (937) and Virginia Tech (932) recorded results above the cut score.

Two BCS conference football programs and eight power conference basketball programs face penalties. Minnesota and Mississippi’s football programs both lost three scholarships, while Georgia Tech, Indiana and Ohio State’s men’s basketball teams had two scholarships taken away. Auburn, Colorado, Purdue, South Carolina and Tennessee each lost one scholarship.

It was the second straight year Purdue, South Carolina and Tennessee faced a scholarship reduction in basketball.

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