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Published: Wednesday, 3/2/2005

UT football near academic bottom

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

The University of Toledo's football team ranks fourth from the bottom in the nation in academic performance according to the NCAA Academic Performance Ratings.

UT ranks 114th of 117 Division I-A football programs.

Brian Lutz, UT's assistant athletic director for compliance, said members of the UT athletic administration have already met with the Rockets' coaches and academic staff concerning the NCAA report card.

"The approach we're taking is that this is the benchmark we need to meet," Lutz said. "My understanding is that the NCAA is going to compile two years worth of data, and those schools still under the 925 line could be subject to penalties."

Lutz said the figures released by the NCAA earlier this week that showed the Toledo football team near the bottom of the Division I-A ranks were based on the academic scores from the 2003-04 school year.

Member schools will be required to submit their data for the current academic year by late September.

"Sometime late in the fall schools will know if they are subject to any penalties," Lutz said.

He said those penalties, which would likely involve the loss of scholarships in a program, would probably take effect in the fall of 2006, although they could be put in place earlier. One example of a potential penalty is that if a student athlete leaves school in poor academic standing, his or her scholarship could not be awarded to someone else.

"We can't control all aspects of this, such as when student-athletes decide to leave school," Lutz said. "But we can impact some areas."

UT coach Tom Amstutz did not return messages seeking comment on the NCAA grade card and the Rockets' ranking.

Even though Ohio State's football team ranks 11th from the bottom, athletic director Andy Geiger said it's a sign that the university is headed in the right direction.

"I have been a big proponent of this," said Geiger, referring to the ratings. "I think it's great."

Middle Tennessee State's football team is ranked worst in the country academically.

Some schools disagree with the methodology used to determine the ratings. If every scholarship athlete on a team is academically eligible that year, a school has a rating of 1000.

Ohio State is listed last among Big Ten schools academically in football (870), last in men's basketball (881), tied for third in women's basketball (983), eighth in baseball (928) and is ranked ahead of only Purdue in the overall ratings.

Ohio State's overall rating is 938, still higher than some other Ohio schools - Cincinnati (929), Miami (924), Bowling Green (917) and Ohio (916). Toledo actually has a better overall rating than Ohio State (940).

Akron's overall rating is 983 and Kent State's is 947.



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