New academic reports have Gophers men 10th in the Big Ten

Gophers women rank third in the conference.
May 06, 2009

The NCAA published Academic Progress Rates for all participating institutions Wednesday, and the University of Minnesota men’s athletics programs rank 10th among the Big Ten, while the women’s programs rank third in the Big Ten in the multi-year rates.
The multi-year APR measures academic progress for Division I student athletes from the 2004-05 academic year to 2007-08. The scale awards two points to each student-athlete who meets academic eligibility requirements and does not transfer from the university.
The University will be losing three football scholarships for the 2009 recruiting year for falling below the 925 score. Failure to maintain an APR of 925 results in immediate penalties.
Other Big Ten schools are also being penalized following the recently published numbers.
Ohio State University and Indiana University will both lose two basketball scholarships, and Purdue lost one.
Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he is concerned with the University’s men student-athletes’ APR. He said the athletics department is committed to improving the graduation rates and APR for student-athletes.
Maturi noted that the University may rank lower than some Big Ten schools because of students who have transferred. A transfer student means the team can only receive one of the two possible points for that student-athlete.
With the location and success of some athletics programs, Maturi said it is difficult to recruit some of the more glorified recruits to the University. He said some coaches have to take chances on student-athletes who might not have had the best high school GPAs.
Some of the University’s high-profile sports are in the process of rebuilding because of coaching moves, Maturi added.
Maturi said many recruits prefer to go to an already successful program instead of a building program.
“As a result, the U ends up sometimes recruiting young men and women who might be a little bit more academically challenged because [coaches] weren’t able to successfully recruit the 4.0 honor grade athlete,” he said.
The performance of student-athletes is not completely independent of the other students at a university, Maturi said. He said the University as a whole ranks low in graduation rates among Big Ten universities, so the recent APR data is not surprising.
“The culture academically at an institution is also reflected within an athletics department,” he said. “I’m concerned about Minnesota, and we are committed to doing all we can to improve our graduation rates and to improve our APR rates.”
The University of Iowa ranked fifth in both men’s and women’s 2007-08 APR. Iowa’s Associate Athletic Director Fred Mims said there is always room for improvement, but he is pleased with where the student-athletes compare among the Big Ten.
Mims said he does not expect to make changes to try to improve the APR for the programs.
“We’re pretty happy with what we have in place, and we keep encouraging our coaches to get better,” he said. “I think [the University’s APR is] going to continue to rise.”
The 2007-08 Division I APR showed an overall improvement from 2006-07, and Walter Harrison, chairman of the Committee on Academic Performance , said the results are “very satisfying” in a teleconference Wednesday.
The number of student-athletes who fail out of school across Division I schools has dropped by 897 students, Harrison said.

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