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June 28, 2012

Division I sports teams exceed standards 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 June 20 by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The report measures teams against the academic progress rate (APR) that the NCAA developed eight 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 over a four-year period between the 2007-08 and the 2010-11 academic years.

The benchmark score of 925 out of a possible 1,000 equals roughly a 60 percent success rate in graduating players within six years. Teams that score below 925 face the loss of scholarships.

Pitt teams’ APR scores ranged from 952 for women’s volleyball to 995 for women’s gymnastics.

Ten of Pitt’s 19 sports improved their scores from the previous year’s data, while 12 sports were above the Division I average score in their respective sport. Pitt saw seven programs achieve their highest score ever.

The men’s basketball program improved its score by five points to 990 from the 2010 data and were recognized nationally in the top 10 percent of their sport for the second straight season. Pitt’s team was one of only two Big East schools and 23 programs nationally recognized in the top 10 percent. The score also was 40 points higher than the Division I men’s basketball average.

Men’s soccer registered the best overall increase among all Pitt sports from one year to the next, an increase of 12 points. The squad has recorded perfect APR rates in two of the past four academic years, which raised the four-year average to 983 — the highest score in team history.

Wrestling (970) and football (955) posted overall increases of seven and six points, respectively. Football’s score also was the highest for the program and is seven points higher than the NCAA Division I average.

Seven women’s teams scored a 984 mark or higher with gymnastics leading the way (995). Cross country (991), indoor track (985), basketball (985) and outdoor track (984) each improved their scores by seven points apiece in comparison to last year’s data. Also scoring at least 984 among women’s teams were softball (985) and swimming (984).

At 985, women’s basketball ranked in the top 30 percent of Division I, 15 points higher than the national average.

Pitt’s other team scores were: 956 for baseball; 962 for men’s cross country; 983 for men’s soccer; 953 for men’s swimming; 963 for men’s indoor track; 968 for men’s outdoor track; 973 for women’s soccer, and 982 for women’s tennis.

The APR is a measure of performance for all participating NCAA Division I athletics programs. The NCAA awards two points at the conclusion of each academic term to student-athletes who meet academic-eligibility standards and who remain with the institution or leave with their degree. A team’s APR is the total points earned by the team at a given time divided by the total points possible. Schools that fail to reach the minimum of 900 — there were 35 such teams this year — receive several penalties.

The full report is available at

—Peter Hart

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