|HBCUs and the APR: Red Alert?|
Five HBCU teams will be banned from postseason play this school year, and impending rules changes will raise the bar even higher for everyone
By ALVIN HOLLINS JR.
The NCAA is apparently very serious about the student side of the student-athlete concept, based on its’ announcements this week banning member schools from postseason play in various sports in the wake of the annual release of Academic Progress Rate (APR) reports for Division I.
In basketball alone, 10 schools, headed by 2010 men’s national champion UConn, were banned from the 2013 NCAA Tournament, along with Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Grambling State. Grambling’s ban was extended for a second year.
In football, Hampton (Va.) University, North Carolina A&T and Texas Southern were among the programs banned from the Division I FCS playoffs.
Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs) have struggled with the Division I academic standards, mainly in football and men’s basketball, since the NCAA began a concerted effort to raise the academic performances of the student-athletes at member institutions in the 1980s.
And now NCAA Division I is raising the bar over the next three years, moving the “passing grade” number from the original 925 to 930 by 2015, with more stringent sanctions for non-compliance on the table.
Those new sanctions, which are much stronger than the current array of penalties, include greater scholarship and practice time reductions, multi-year postseason bans, individual sanctions on athletic directors and head coaches, and worst of all, restricted membership status for an institution. That means the school’s entire athletics program is penalized and will not be considered a part of Division I.
Breaking Down The APR
The APR, is a metric developed by the NCAA to track the academic achievement of teams each academic term, awarding one (1) point to each scholarship student-athlete for staying in school, and one (1) point for being academically eligible.
A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by one thousand (1,000) to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate score.
The NCAA calculates the rate as a rolling, four-year figure that takes into account all the points student-athletes could earn for remaining in school and academically eligible during that four-year period.
For HBCUs, whose financial resources are far below that of schools in the major conferences, making the 925 grade in the major sports has been a challenge, and some schools have not only fallen below that mark, but have scored below the absolute Mendoza Line of 900, which opens them up for a range of sanctions.
But since HBCUs and many other Division I schools are having difficulty with the increasing standards, the NCAA is gradually raising the bar to 930 over a three-year period, particularly for those programs that have fallen below 900:
@ In 2013: 910 will be the rock bottom number.
@ In 2014: 920 will be the rock bottom number.
@ In 2015: 930 will be the rock bottom number.
In football, this means Texas Southern (811), North Carolina A&T (880) and Hampton (881) are in danger of not only being banned this year, but if their numbers don’t improve, they could face a multi-year ban, and possible athletic department-wide sanctions.
And if 930 were used as a baseline today, only Alabama A&M (937), Norfolk State (937), Bethune-Cookman (935) and North Carolina Central (934) would be eligible for the postseason football playoffs, meaning 17 of the 21 schools in HBCU conferences (MEAC, SWAC) would be out of the money before the season began.
Men’s Basketball is even worse as ironically, Hampton (965) and North Carolina A&T (934) would be the ONLY HBCUs scoring above 930 out of 23 schools in the MEAC and SWAC.
This could essentially devastate both leagues financially, as their conference tournaments would have to be cancelled with no automatic NCAA Tournament bid (and the first-round paycheck) available.
Thus, HBCUs have a choice to make as institutions and conferences: Redouble their efforts to make winning academically as much a priority as competitive success (including recruiting smarter, and putting robust support programs in place), or suffer a further loss of face as more sanctions come down upon these programs, which will ultimately impact the financial bottom line.
THE HBCU APR REPORT CARD * Football/Basketball * 2010-11
Conference rankings are broken down based on the 930 APR baseline, which will be in full effect in 2015-16 in NCAA Division I. Only schools at 930 and above would be eligible for NCAA postseason play beginning in 2015-16.
|Last Updated ( Sat Jun 23, 2012 - 12:24am )|