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Published: 6/10/2010

UT, BGSU score well in academics

BLADE STAFF

Both the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University athletic programs received solid academic ratings from the NCAA yesterday.

At Toledo, 14 of the 15 sports teams finished above the NCAA's established "cut point" of 925 based on its Academic Progress Rate (APR) system.

At Bowling Green, 17 of 18 teams finished above the cut point.

But the UT men's basketball program will lose a scholarship for failing to meet the academic cutoff -point. The Falcons basketball team also failed to reach the cut point, but was spared from losing any scholarships.

At BG, 14 of the school's 18 teams held a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00. Athletes posted a 3.07 cumulative GPA through the spring semester, an increase from 3.03 following the fall of 2009.

The Falcons hockey team posted the school's highest men's rating (964). The men's basketball team had the largest improvement for a men's team and the women's basketball team had the largest improvement for a women's team.

"This is truly a team effort," BG athletic director Greg Christopher said. "Our coaches recruit terrific young women and men, and the student-athletes themselves invest the time and efforts to excel in the classroom."

Five of Bowling Green's athletic teams had a perfect 1,000 single-year APR score for 2008-09. Those five teams were men's golf, women's golf, swimming, women's tennis, and volleyball.

The Falcons football program, which was forced to take a scholarship reduction a year ago, is ranked among the 30 most improved programs and will take no further penalty with a 931 score.

However, the Falcons men's basketball APR fell below the NCAA's 925 cut off score with a 922. But the team will not be penalized because the score was affected by the departure of an exhausted-eligibility senior who left BGSU last summer.

Toledo had two teams, men's cross country and women's tennis, that earned perfect 1,000 scores for the 2008-09 school year.

The Rockets women's volleyball team posted a multi-year APR score of 995, earning a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA for the second consecutive year. The awards are given to programs that rank in the top 10 percent of the nation in their respective sport. The women's volleyball team was one of three UT sports to have APR scores above 990. The other two were women's soccer (992) and women's tennis (992).

"We are very pleased with the APR figures," UT athletic director Mike O'Brien said. "They are another indicator of the academic achievements of our student-athletes, as well as the support efforts of our coaches, athletic staff, and faculty."

Two UT teams that finished below the 925 "cut point" a year ago - football and men's cross country - improved their ratings. The football team moved its cumulative APR from 892 in 2006-07 to 934 in 2008-09. Men's cross country improved from 888 to 950. Both teams will not be assessed any scholarship penalties.

However, the Rockets men's basketball team fell short of the cut line and lost one scholarship as a result. With an APR of 895, the team was 30 points below the 925 cut line. The team will now have 12 scholarships available for the 2010-11 season out of the NCAA maximum of 13.

O'Brien said he is confident that new head coach Tod Kowalczyk will improve the team's academic performance.

"Tod's academic track record in his eight seasons as head coach at UW-Green Bay was impeccable. In Tod's eight years as head coach every Phoenix player who completed his athletic eligibility also graduated," O'Brien said. "I have no doubt that our men's basketball program will make significant improvements in the classroom."

The APR measures the classroom performance of every Division I athlete and the ratings released yesterday are based on data collected from 2005-06 through 2008-09.

Each athlete receives one point per semester for remaining academically eligible and another point each semester for remaining at that school or graduating.

A mathematical formula is then used to calculate a final team score with 1,000 points being perfect. Teams falling below 925 can face scholarship losses. Teams consistently falling below 900 can be penalized more harshly.

- Mark Monroe



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