March 1, 2006
The University of Tennessee men's and women's athletics departments announced academic progress rates (APR) for student-athletes Wednesday.
The APR report provides information about student-athletes at the institution who received athletics financial aid or for teams that do not award athletics aid, were recruited by the institution.
The report gives information about the academic progress and retention of student-athletes at the institution for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 academic years, unless otherwise noted. Once available, four years of data will be compiled to calculate a team's multiyear APR. The report provides an APR for each sport at the institution and national APR averages for various subgroups.
The APR is based on each student-athlete having the opportunity to earn two points during each regular academic term of full-time enrollment (e.g., fall semester). One point is awarded if the student-athlete is academically eligible to compete the following regular academic term (or has graduated). The other point is awarded if the student-athlete returns to the institution as a full-time student the next regular academic term or graduate from the university. The APR is calculated by adding all points earned by student-athletes over the past two academic years and dividing that number by the total possible points that could have been earned. That number is then multiplied by 1,000.
When a team's academic performance, measured by that team's APR, falls below 925, that team becomes subject to penalties if any student-athlete on that team did not return to the institution as a full-time student and was not academically eligible when the student-athlete left the institution. This penalty is known as a contemporaneous penalty and potentially limits the amount of athletics aid that the team may award.
UT's multi-year academic progress rates for individual sports were:
|Men's Sports||APR||Women's Sports||APR|
|Swimming and Diving||893+||Softball||944|
|Tennis||917+||Swimming and Diving||971|
|Track and Field, Indoor||938||Tennis||971|
|Track and Field, Outdoor||944||Track and Field, Indoor||981|
|Track and Field, Outdoor||981|
|+ - Denotes APR that does not subject the team to contemporaneous penalties due to the squad-size adjustment.|
"We are very proud of our teams' performance in the classroom," said Eric Brey, director of the Thornton Center. "The NCAA's Academic Reform package has challenged student-athletes to improve their academic endeavors, and UT's student-athletes are stepping up to the challenge."
One of the University of Tennessee's 20 programs received a contemporaneous penalty. Men's baseball had an APR of 850 primarily due to student-athletes pursuing a professional career after their junior year of college. The program is currently serving a loss of 1.17 scholarships.
"I am very proud of the accomplishments our student-athletes have made," said Joan Cronan, women's athletics director. "Now, we not only keep score on the field of play, but the APR is the win/loss record in the classroom, which is in accord with our mission statement that our student-athletes are students first."
With the recent changes to NCAA rules for academic progression, the role of the Thornton Center is even more important. The new academic progress towards degree requirements require a student-athlete to complete various percentages toward degree requirements, specific grade point averages, and other requirements to remain eligible to compete.
The university encourages former athletes who left in good standing to return to the university to achieve their degree. The Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) Program works with former student-athletes by assisting them with advice on degree requirements remaining, course scheduling, tutoring, employment and internship opportunities offered through the CHAMPS/Life Skills Office, and use of the Thornton Center for their every day needs.
There are currently 12 former student-athletes that are working with the RAC Program and over 20 that have inquired about returning to school in the near future. In 2004-05, there were nine graduates in the RAC Program.
A key focus for the University of Tennessee athletic programs is to graduate student-athletes and prepare them for real-world experiences. In 2001, the University of Tennessee opened the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center to provide student-athletes with superior academic support programs and personal and career development assistance. Since the creation of the Thornton Center, Tennessee's student-athletes have achieved increasing academic success:
"The Thornton Center has been very active in the NCAA's academic progression discussions and has put in place a great framework to make sure our athletes stay on track," said Mike Hamilton, men's athletics director. "If our student-athletes aren't winning academically, they won't be competing."
SEC APR Facts: