Blue Raiders make significant jump in APROctober 27, 2005 · MT Media Relations
As an institution, Middle Tennessee improved 10 points from the initial report to go from 908 to 918 but is still seven points shy of the minimum standard score of 925.
"I am proud of the significant gains made in the area of APR by our athletics department," said Chris Massaro, Middle Tennessee Director of Athletics. "Our coaches and staff take this issue very seriously and it shows in the improvement demonstrated in the 2004-05 report. We still must work toward making improvements, and will get the department to 925."
Overall, Middle Tennessee had 11 of its 17 sports make improvements on their scores with football making a considerable jump of 80 points from 812 to 892.
"We were not pleased with our number last year or the negative publicity it brought to our team, our athletic department, and our University," Middle Tennessee football coach Andy McCollum said. "There were some things related to APR last year that was out of our control, and that can be said for programs all across the country. Some were released for disciplinary reasons, some transferred that were in good academic standing that we were disappointed about.
"Nonetheless, we focused a great deal of time and energy to making upgrades in the area of APR and working to improve that area of our program. I'm pleased with the overall improvement, but we still have work to do as we want to be among the best in the country at everything we do, not just on the football field. I appreciate the additional personnel hired within the Academic Enhancement Center and the support staff, within the past six months, in order to help us be successful in this very important area of college athletics."
Men's and women's cross-country and women's indoor and outdoor track also made sizable gains from the 2003-04 report. Men's Cross-Country improved 98 points to 955, women's cross-country went up 72 points to 947, and women's indoor and outdoor track improved 90 points to 965.
Also making improvements from the 2003-04 report were men's tennis (941 to 975), softball (957 to 988), women's golf (944 to 972), volleyball (983 to 1000), baseball (967 to 974).
Middle Tennessee had one perfect score turned in and that was the volleyball team securing a 1,000.
The Blue Raider men's basketball team was among the department's top APR scores in 2003-04, but saw a significant drop in this year's preliminary finding. The squad currently has a 792, which is down from 920 in 2003-04.
Among the other programs that fell below the 925 mark were: Men's Indoor Track, Men's Golf, Women's Basketball, Women's Tennis, and Women's Soccer.
"I am definitely in favor of the APR and feel over a period of time it will be a good gauge of academic performance in college athletics," said Head Basketball Coach Kermit Davis. "We are obviously disappointed in our number this year, especially considering we had the second highest rated APR in the Sun Belt last season. I do know this; we don't have an academic problem, we had a one-year retention problem.
"There are five guys who are no longer involved in our program and all of them left in good academic standing. They would all have been eligible and progressing toward their degrees at Middle Tennessee, but we had to make some hard decisions that we thought was best for our program. I am disappointed that we hurt our overall athletic department's APR, but I can guarantee you one thing - our staff and players will work day and night and continue to progress academically. We have three players on schedule to graduate in the spring - Fats Cuyler, Marcus Morrison, and Kyle Young, and I firmly believe we will have one of the best APR's in the Sun Belt next year."
Overall, Middle Tennessee has made great strides in the area of APR over the past few months as evidenced by 65 percent of its 17 sports showing gains during the previous year. Additionally, four of the six sports that did not reach the target score of 925 are within just eight points of the passing mark.
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