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APR progression continues for Middle Tennessee

13 of 17 sports exceed NCAA cutoff line

May 2, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee has enjoyed a banner year in the athletic arena during the 2006-07 school year, but the Blue Raiders also are making the grades in the classroom, as well.

In the latest Academic Progress Rates (APR), released by the NCAA this week, Middle Tennessee's student-athletes produced an aggregate score of 951 for the 2005-06 - its highest total in the three years of the existence of the APR.

The latest figure shows a continuing progression for Middle Tennessee which produced a 908 in 2003-04, 918 in 2004-05, and the most recent 951 in 2005-06. Pending the results of final exams this week, officials within the Middle Tennessee Athletic Department anticipate a projected range of 950-to-975 for the 2006-07 school year when APR results are released in the next period.

"The progression we have demonstrated as a whole is very encouraging," Director of Athletics Chris Massaro said. "It is a compliment to our student-athletes, our coaches, and Jim Rost and his staff at the Academic Enhancement Center. The entire University placed a great emphasis on Academic Enhancement and the results are there as evidenced by the proof of these scores and the progression you are seeing.

"The NCAA is pleased with the progress we have made and it is even using our University as an example of how to manage APR."

While Massaro is pleased with the latest results and the showing of all 17 Division I sports Middle Tennessee sponsors as a whole, he says there is still work to be done.

"When you look at the three-year average and take into consideration the progress we have made across the board each year, clearly we are making strides," Massaro said. "While I am pleased with the progress, I am still not completely satisfied because we can continue to improve, and I know we will."

Middle Tennessee President Sidney McPhee, who serves on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the NCAA Executive Committee, said academic enhancement must be at the forefront with student-athletes and he is delighted to see significant results in the latest APR Report.

"I find the results of the recent APR data to be very revealing because this data supports the emphasis being placed on academic enhancement at Middle Tennessee," said McPhee, who also serves as President of the Sun Belt Conference. "Our student-athletes continue to exhibit the ability to successfully balance academics and athletes and that is very pleasing. We will continue to make strides, but I am delighted with the progress we are showing in this highly-important area."

The APR is calculated by measuring the academic eligibility and retention of student-athletes by team each term. Based on current data, an APR of 925 calculates to an approximate Graduation Success Rate of 60 percent. An inability to reach the NCAA's cutoff line of 925 could result in reduction of scholarships for that particular sport, as well as penalties for athletic departments if their cumulative APR score of its programs dipped below 925.

Historical penalties begin to occur when the average falls below 900, and Middle Tennessee is fine in that regard based on the NCAA's statistical confidence boundaries. Middle Tennessee's three-year aggregate score is 925, and the most recent results showed 13 of Middle Tennessee's 17 sports earned an APR score of 938 or higher in 2005-06.

Ten of the 17 sports increased their points from 2004-05 to 2005-06 and three of the seven that did not show an increase only showed a slight decrease and still had a score that easily exceeded the NCAA cut-off line of 925.

Along the lines of progression, Middle Tennessee's football program has been a model. The Blue Raiders scored at the bottom of the NCAA with 812 points in 2003-04, but increased to 893 in 2004-05, and 949 in 2005-06.

Following are Middle Tennessee's athletic teams that scored in excess of 925 on the APR during 2005-06, along with their points: baseball (986), football (949), men's basketball (940), men's tennis (1,000), men's golf (979), women's basketball (960), softball (955), soccer (952), volleyball (938), women's tennis (974), women's golf (964), and women's cross country (950).

The following three-year averages are below 900: men's cross country (917), men's indoor track (885), men's outdoor track (885), and women's indoor track (919).

"With the information we have thus far in the school year, including summer terms, we anticipate all of our sports aggregate to be above 900 next year," Massaro said.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.