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Published: Wednesday, 5/7/2008

UT football misses APR standard

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The University of Toledo's Academic Progress Rate scores released yesterday include three teams with perfect scores in 2006-07. But the UT football team was penalized scholarships for the third straight year despite increasing its multiyear score every year.

The football team, with an APR of 892, failed to reach the "cut point" of 925 that signifies a 60 percent graduation rate. APR is a gauge of every team's academic performance at a given point in time. The data are cumulative from the last four school years starting in 2003-04.

The football team was retroactively restricted to 79 scholarships out of a possible 85 in 2007-08. The team had fewer than 79 players on scholarship last year.

A further penalty for failing to reach the cut point is a reduction of initial scholarships to 22 from the allowable maximum of 25 per year. The Rockets signed 20 players in 2007 and the scholarships were taken from that total.

The UT baseball team received NCAA recognition for placing in the top 10 percent in its sport. Its multiyear APR is 978. Three UT teams had perfect scores of 1,000 for 2006-07 - men's golf, women's tennis and volleyball.

"Many of our teams rank among the best in the country, while others have shown tremendous improvement," athletic director Mike O'Brien said.

The APR has been released for three years, and in each year the football team has lost scholarships. Its multiyear APR improved from 885 the previous year. The football team was penalized four scholarships last year and six scholarships two years ago.

Another team penalized was the UT men's cross country team. With a multiyear APR of 888, the cross country team received a historical penalty of public notice.

According to the NCAA Web site, starting next year, teams that receive three consecutive years of historical penalties (below 900 APR) face potential restrictions on postseason competition, as well as scholarship and practice reductions.

The football and cross country teams were two of 218 Division I teams nationwide to fall below the benchmark. The football team was one of 113 teams in that group to receive immediate penalty. There are 6,272 Division I teams in the country.

The baseball team's APR in 2006-07 was 992. Its multiyear score was 40 points above the national average.

"I'm proud of our players' accomplishments in the classroom," baseball coach Cory Mee said. "It's a credit to their hard work and taking pride in their academics. Recognition like this reflects well on the players and on the program."

The men's basketball team, which had a perfect score for the 2005-06 school year, scored just 884 in 2006-07, the lowest score of any Rocket team. The men's basketball team had a multiyear APR of 970.

UT student-athletes had a GPA of 3.003 for the fall semester.

Contact Maureen Fulton at: mfulton@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.

Ohio State's multiyear APR for football was reported as 942, which falls below the "high-performing" standard of scores from 965 to a perfect 1,000. That 942 rating put the Buckeyes in between the 50th to 60th percentile of the 239 Division I teams with football programs, and between the 20th to 30th percentile of all sports.

John Bruno, an Ohio State professor and the athletics faculty representative, said yesterday that he was pleased with the overall APR scores for Buckeyes teams, and the fact that an improvement trend has continued.

"Our reaction overall to the APR, I think, has to be said first and foremost, is very positive. I think there is a lot of good news here with respect to academics and intercollegiate athletics [at Ohio State]," Bruno said. "As I look at the APR scores for all of the teams, the vast majority of them are increasing from year to year."

The Buckeyes' men's basketball team had a multiyear APR of 909, which ranked Ohio State in the 20th to 30th percentile of the 337 Division I schools with basketball programs. The basketball program ranked in the lowest percentile group against all sports, which Bruno said reflected a national problem with the sport.

"The APR scores for men's basketball improved from last year to this year," Bruno said, "but, obviously, men's basketball is a challenge. It is a challenge both here at Ohio State, and nationally."

On the women's basketball side, Ohio State, which was honored earlier this year for ranking in the top 10 percent nationally in the sport, had a multiyear APR of 993. That placed Ohio State in the highest percentile grouping nationally, and in the second-highest tier compared to all sports.

- Matt Markey

Michigan's 951 multi-year APR figure puts the Wolverines in the 70th to 80th percentile nationally among all Division I football programs, and places them in the 30th to 40th percentile when compared to all sports. Michigan's football APR also ranked higher than the 934 average mark of all Division I schools, and the 925 average of public institutions.

On the men's basketball side, Michigan's 927 multiyear APR placed the Wolverines in between the 40th and 50th percentile within the sport, and in between the 10th and 20th percentile compared to all sports.

In women's basketball, Michigan had an APR of 955, which placed the Wolverines in the 30th to 40th percentile ranking nationally both within the sport, and against all sports.

- Matt Markey

The Bowling Green State University men's soccer team was limited to awarding 9.06 scholarships as penalty for a score of 895. The Falcon football team narrowly escaped sanction by scoring 925. The men's and women's basketball teams had marks of 935 and 960, respectively.

- Ryan Autullo



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