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June 9, 2011

Pitt teams score well on NCAA report card

All of Pitt’s 19 Division I sports teams exceeded standards established for academic performance in the latest “report card” issued last month by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

gymnasticsMikeDTwo of Pitt’s teams — gymnastics and men’s basketball — received special recognition from the NCAA for being ranked among the top 10 percent in their respective sports among all Division I programs.

The report measures teams against the academic progress rate (APR) that the NCAA developed seven years ago as a way to gauge college athletes’ progress toward earning their degrees. Scores are assigned based on eligibility, retention rates and degree-completion rates.

The benchmark score of 925 out of a possible 1,000 equals roughly a 60 percent success rate in graduating players within six years.

The NCAA report reflects the four-year average for every team over the academic years 2006-07 through 2009-10. The average APR for all 6,422 Division I teams is 970, up three points from last year’s average.

Thirteen of Pitt’s 19 sports teams improved their scores from the 2010 data, with the largest improvement coming in baseball (up 25 points) and men’s basketball (up 23 points).

Pitt teams’ APRs ranged from a low of 955 for men’s swimming to a perfect 1,000 for the gymnastics team.

The 10 Panthers women’s programs recorded no score lower than 970 for the multi-year APR period.

Men’s basketball and football, the two major revenue-generating sports, both fared well compared to Division I peers in the latest report. The men’s basketball team’s score was 985, compared with the national average for all 344 Division I men’s basketball teams’ score of 945.

The Panthers football team’s score was 949, compared to the national average of 946 for all 244 Division I football teams.


Under NCAA policies, teams with an APR below 925 can lose scholarships, and scores below 900 can trigger more severe sanctions, including restrictions on financial aid, postseason competition and practice time.

On the penalty side, 103 teams at 67 schools have been sanctioned for poor academic performance, the NCAA reported. Eight teams — five men’s basketball and three football teams — are banned from competing in the postseason in the coming academic year because of poor performance in the classroom.

In addition, another seven teams faced a postseason ban but received a conditional waiver for the coming year. These teams remain subject to the postseason ban in future years if they do not meet their specific academic performance conditions or implement an NCAA-approved academic improvement plan.

A total of 55 teams did not earn a 925 APR and had a student-athlete leave school ineligible, and thus have lost scholarships. Five teams have lost immediate scholarships and received the first penalty (public warning) as well for posting an APR below 900.

Another 16 teams under 900 APR received a public warning; 19 teams received practice restrictions.

The APR breakdown of Pitt’s 19 Division I teams is available at

—Peter Hart

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