May 4, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The NCAA released 2006 Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures and 18 of East Carolina's 19 intercollegiate sports programs are currently in compliance with the association's guidelines.
The ECU men's basketball team fell below the mandated "cutoff" mark of 925 with a multi-year score of 849, thus receiving a public warning from the NCAA which could result in future scholarship reductions and other recruiting and practice time penalties. To avoid future penalties for the men's basketball program, East Carolina must record yearly APR scores above 925 and maintain progress towards a four-year composite of 925.
The NCAA's academic reform package of 2004, which included two new metrics (the APR and the Graduation Success Rate - GSR), reports a historical snapshot of a school's academic performance by its student-athletes. Data, however, is compiled over a six-year period in computing the GSR, and over a four-year period in computing the APR and the latter isn't always an accurate reflection of current efforts by student-athletes.
"With the commitment that Coach Ricky Stokes and his staff have made to academics, we are confident that the program is moving in the right direction," ECU Director of Athletics Terry Holland said. "While we will not have any scholarship penalties this year, we also realize that it will take a period of time to get the APR score to an acceptable level."
Holland also feels that higher grade-point averages by the team will soon translate into higher APR rates. The cumulative GPA of the men's basketball program after the fall semester in the first two years after Stokes was hired was 2.65 in 2005 and 2.70 in 2006. The previous two fall semesters, the GPA's were 2.28 and 2.13.
"Our current basketball staff is hands-on when it comes to academics," Holland added. "A coach attends study hall with the players. A team member must perform in the classroom if he is to be effective on the court."
The highest multi-year APR scores at ECU were earned by the women's tennis (1000), volleyball (993), women's swimming (993), women's golf (990) and men's golf (980) squads. Two Pirate sports, volleyball and women's tennis, were cited as being in the top-10 percent nationwide for their respective sports.
Nationally, data released earlier this week show men's basketball scored the lowest of all sports, with 44 percent of all Division I teams with three-year aggregate scores below the 925 APR required to avoid penalties.