University of Tennessee Announces Academic Progress Rates

June 9, 2010

The University of Tennessee men's and women's athletics departments announced academic progress rates (APR) for student-athletes on Wednesday.

The Academic Progress Rate, now in its sixth year, measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. It also serves as a predictor of graduation success. The most recent APR scores are based on a multi-year rate that averages scores from the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years.

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 graduates from the university. The APR is calculated by adding all points earned by student-athletes over the past four 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.

"I am proud of the progress all our student-athletes and coaches have made with the NCAA's APR system," said Eric Brey, director of the Thornton Student Services Center. "In the first year the APR was calculated, UT had four teams below 925. Each of those teams have made significant improvements in their academic standing due in large part to the dedication of the students, coaches and administration. I commend the students for their efforts and thank the Thornton Center staff, coaches, faculty, staff and administration for their continued support and encouragement."

UT's multi-year academic progress rates for individual sports were:

Cross Country960945
Swimming and Diving946972
Indoor Track and Field938928
Outdoor Track and Field940930

Cross Country981985
Swimming and Diving969975
Indoor Track and Field969973
Outdoor Track and Field969973

"I am very proud of the accomplishments our student-athletes have made," said Joan Cronan, women's athletic 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 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 10 former scholarship student-athletes who are working with the RAC Program, including former Vol hoopsters C.J. Watson and Chris Lofton.

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:

• During the 2009-2010 school year, 71 current and former Vols and Lady Vols graduated from the University of Tennessee, continuing Tennessee athletics' tradition of commitment to the classroom.

• Tennessee had 239 student-athletes who achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the spring of 2010.

• 15 former student-athletes have returned to earn their bachelor's degree through the RAC program since fall 2003.

"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."



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