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Blog Entry

NCAA approves APR hike; system needs tweaking

Posted on: August 11, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 3:28 pm
 

By Jeff Goodman

The NCAA's concept of the APR (Academic Progress Rate) makes sense.

But the system needs tweaking.

There should be penalties and severe consequences for those schools that don’t take academics seriously.

However, in the wake of the Division 1 Board of Directors decision on Thursday to increase the average four-year APR score to 930 in order to be able to participate in the NCAA tournament and bowl games, it should be noted that schools don’t exactly perform on an even playing field.

Let’s take Portland State, for instance.

Men’s basketball coach Tyler Geving, in his second season after being promoted from an assistant, had a team that was banned by the NCAA from competing in the postseason this past season.

Portland State had posted four consecutive seasons in which it didn’t earn an APR score of more than 900. Teams that scored below the 925 mark faced immediate penalties.

Geving’s program has recorded back-to-back perfect scores since, is off the postseason ban and has all 13 scholarships back (they lost two scholarships each of the past two years). They also lost one day of practice each week all of last season.

Portland State doesn’t have near the academic resources of the high-major programs.

``We had one high-major kid transfer and he asked me whether we had a tutor go to class and take notes when we are on the road,” Geving said.

Geving laughed.

While the big boys have multiple tutors and a hefty academic support staff, the low-major programs have to share tutors and academic personnel with numerous other teams. They don’t have the luxury of having them on the road with them when they travel on road trips – and these are programs that are often forced to play road game after road game in the non-conference slate as part of “buy games” to earn money to support the programs.

``We had one person working in the entire academic center when I got here six years ago,” Geving said.

They don’t have the same luxury of easy academic majors and classes where many large schools are able to hide players.

And there are rules within the APR that just don’t make a ton of sense.

When a player transfers out of the program to a junior college, that school gets hit with a two-point penalty. If a kid leaves for another Division 1 school with a GPA of less than 2.6, that school takes a hit.

If a kid graduates beyond six years, it’s not quick enough. You need to get through in less – or else, again, you get hit with a loss of points.

``We’ve only had one kid who hasn’t graduated since I’ve been here,” Geving said. ``That’s the most important thing at the end of the day, isn’t it?”

Eight teams were banned from the postseason this coming year. Five – Cal-State Northridge, Chicago State, Grambling, Southern and Louisiana-Monroe – in basketball. Idaho State, Jackson State and Southern were all hit in football.

What’s the common theme here?

They are all low-level schools with small budgets and resources.

The intent makes sense. The formula? It, like the NCAA rulebook, needs alterations.
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Dec 23, 2007
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:46 pm
 

NCAA approves APR hike; system needs tweaking

Obviously you aren't able to comprehend the point, perhaps I will do a better job of making it this try.

You obviously don't know anything about college sports. It's nothing like high school. Sports in college basically take over your life. And what happens when you're constantly on the road? You miss classes - that's what the tutors are for.


While I never played college sports, at the college I graduated from (The United States Air Force Academy, Mountain West Conference), a D1 school that competes in a very broad range of NCAA intercollegiate sports, students weren't allowed to miss class for any reason except the very specific Friday travel days, they couldn't have note takers because that was against our Honor Code, they didn't have tutors, they had to take all the same tests that all other cadets took if they did miss something on a Friday etc, etc. My roommate had to study every night just like me, eat at the same dining hall as me, do the same campus (military) duties as me and so on. The point is that if guys can go to one of the Service Academies with all the attendant extra requirements above and beyond simple academics and perform in a manner that allows them to graduate then the excuses about how hard the collegiate sports regime is and how hard it is on the athletes doesn't wash with me. The Academy is a D1 school, and it is using the resources that the taxpayers provide, and if they wanted to use some of the money on tutors and all these other hand holding crutches that the "Big Boys" use they could, but they don't... they expect the cadet/student athlete to get it on their own and if they can't make it they can go elsewhere to get their degree.

If the school can't support its team properly because they can't afford to have the personnel or equipment that they need in order to operate without doing these "buy games," then maybe they shouldn't be in the athletics "business."


So the point that you are missing is that these smaller programs that supposedly aren't able to compete without the crutches that "Big Boys" provide is maybe the school should look at the situation and decide "Hey, we shouldn't be competing at this level, since it is obviously injuring our players to do this." It may come as a shock to you but there are many schools that don't compete in either football or basketball and they mysteriously are providing good educations to their students. The only people who would be injured if a school were to drop back to a lower level of competition that it could afford are coaches and the players who are using intercollegiate athletics as a minor league/developmental league for a potential professional career.

The "business" of colleges is to provide an education for the students that attend, period. Intercollegiate sports are an extra curricular activity (note that word grouping). I am an Arkansas Razorbacks fan, and I know that football and basketball (along with many others) are big-time sports there, and I realize there are kids attending school there and elsewhere that are only in college because they are using the system to get to the next level if they are able to. None of that means we should permit or suborn the injury to the academic mission of the schools, and if some school isn't able to do the same perkiness in their athletic endeavors, then they should just get out of the "business" and go back to the basics.



Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 5:39 am
 

NCAA approves APR hike; system needs tweaking

Of course it isn't FAIR, qazwx4; but if you play D-1, the rules should ostensibly be the same for all teams in the division, no?  That's "fair", isn't it?  Methinks you, and the author of the piece, are missing at least part of the point: if the goal is to teach kids skills to succeed in life, get a job, etc., then the whole system is wrong-headed.  Life is not based on GPA, and GPA does not always equate to success.  It may be the EASIEST thing to measure, but it certainly doesn't reflect a student's progress most accurately.  Nor does graduation, which I am certain will dismay Portland State's coach; we all know about social promotion, and we all know about the places/major in which larger schools can "hide" poorer students.

It's a shame that smaller programs don't have the resources of major programs in one sense, sure; their athletes have to work harder. But, their athletes also--I believe--come out better for it.  I played (to use the term VERY loosely) D-1 ball for a year-and-a-half; very few of our players went to class in season.  Some had note-takers, others convinced a classmate to take notes for them -- a very viable option for your small program schools, particularly in the age of electronic classes in which we live.  Few of them acquired any real "skills" this way, for few of them thought they needed anything other than basketball skills. The students I teach now, at a VERY small D-1 basketball program, go to class on their own, make arrangements to do class work with me directly, get their notes from classmates when they need to, use the on-line resources and, yes, share tutors.  They do pretty damn well, I must say, and IMAO, every single one of them actually HAS to acquire skills.

So, in the end, the author (and you) are right to applaud the NCAA for making it tougher.  The goal is to make it tougher for the big boys to hide their students; they will probably still find a way, but the intent is correct.  Small schools will have problems, but looking at that list of schools that got hit ... I think they'd have problems anyway. 

The only thing that strikes me as "Wrong" or "Unfair" is the penalty for a kid transferring to another D-1 school with a GPA of 2.5 or lower; in that case, I think BOTH schools should take a hit, and the school taking the kid should take a bigger hit--let's say 3 points for taking in a kid who isn't an AQ (as they used to be known) v. a 1-point hit for having a kid with a low GPA leave.  To me, that looks like the kid's problem: he didn't like the school or the program, stopped working, and decided to go elsewhere--not necessarily in that order.

But fairness?  Hard to pin down.  Making different rules for different size schools isn't fair either; rules are by division, and if you want to play with the big boys, you play by their rules.



Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: August 11, 2011 9:45 pm
 

NCAA approves APR hike; system needs tweaking

You're completely missing the point of the article. It says there's a discrepency between mid-majors and high-majors, and it points out idiotic penalties when players transfer. Nowhere in the article does it say that the academic requirements are too tough. In fact, it even applauds the NCAA for making them tougher.

You obviously don't know anything about college sports. It's nothing like high school. Sports in college basically take over your life. And what happens when you're constantly on the road? You miss classes - that's what the tutors are for. Sure, it's still the student's responsibility to be able to balance sports and academics, but is it fair that high-majors have a ton more perks to help student-athletes in this regard? The answer is no.




Since: Dec 23, 2007
Posted on: August 11, 2011 7:23 pm
 

NCAA approves APR hike; system needs tweaking

I know there are a lot of financial pressures on schools all over the country to increase revenues, but this is a ridiculous statement:

While the big boys have multiple tutors and a hefty academic support staff, the low-major programs have to share tutors and academic personnel with numerous other teams. They don’t have the luxury of having them on the road with them when they travel on road trips – and these are programs that are often forced to play road game after road game in the non-conference slate as part of “buy games” to earn money to support the programs. 

I thought college was for teaching our children things they need to get a job and be successful in life. My high school didn't provide tutors and other academic support personnel for me and my football and basketball teammates. We were expected to manage on our own. When I went to the Air Force Academy, my roomate was the starting tight-end on the football team, and he received no special academic assistance. 

What’s the common theme here?

They are all low-level schools with small budgets and resources.
 

If the school can't support its team properly because they can't afford to have the personnel or equipment that they need in order to operate without doing these "buy games," then maybe they shouldn't be in the athletics "business." We are in the middle of all kinds of scandals for all different kinds of violations, and having some school complain that the APR requirement is unfair because they can't "afford" it is really insulting to the sensibilities when you realize their real mission is to educate people. To expect that scholar-athletes are really scholars would seem to be a simple to understand proposition. If a school hasn't the resources to do these things on its own, then they should devolve to a level of competition where they can afford to operate...even if that means they drop sports that they can't afford.


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