Tide Academic Work Also Top Caliber

It starts at the top. When Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore started the ambitious building campaign that has made Crimson Tide facilities the envy of the nation, his first priority was renovation of Bryant Hall – the former football and men's basketball dormitory – into an academics center.

It was not completely altruistic. It is important to recruiting (the parents, if not the athletes) to show the state-of-the-art academics center and the exceptionally large staff of academics counselors and tutors. And it is important that student-athletes do well in their studies in order to remain eligible.

But Moore also believes that The University of Alabama has a duty to provide every student-athlete with the tools to earn a degree, as well as to excel in the arena.

Alabama is among the top five athletics schools in the nation, both in men's and women's sports. Bama has just completed a season of national championships in football, gymnastics, softball, and women's golf.

And Moore can take pride in that all 21 University of Alabama varsity athletic teams scored well above the national cutoff standard of 925 in the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) the NCAA announced Wednesday. In addition, 14 Crimson Tide teams posted scores that either matched or were above the national Division I average in their respective sports. Figures released covered the four-year period extending from the 2007-08 through 2010-11 school years.

"In a year of unprecedented athletic success, the fact that The University of Alabama continues to do extremely well in terms of the NCAA's annual Academic Progress Rate is a point of tremendous pride," Moore said. "There is no doubt that this report shows that Alabama strives to do things the right way, producing champions on the field and in the classroom."

The Tide women's golf team, which won its first NCAA Championship this spring, and the women's tennis team both recently received public recognition from the NCAA for their APR score figuring in the top 10 percentile nationally among teams in those sports, with a perfect 1,000 APR.

The women's golf and tennis teams were joined by 2012 NCAA Champion softball team (993), the back-to-back NCAA Champion gymnastics team (991), and the NCAA runner-up men's golf team (993) among UA programs with scores above 990. The Tide's women's swimming & diving (985), men's basketball (984), volleyball (983), soccer (982), baseball (980), men's swimming and diving (980), and men's tennis (980) team's all posted scores of 980 or better.

The Tide football team's APR continues to rise, going to 970 this year, 22 points higher than the national football average. The men's basketball team moved up to a 984 four-year mark, which puts them 34 points above the national average for men's basketball.

"Once again, our APR report was very positive," Assistant Athletics Director for Student Services Jon Dever said. "We had two sports earn perfect scores of 1,000 and all 21 teams were at least 30 points above the 925 mark, including 14 teams that bettered that mark by 50 points or more. There were 12 teams which improved their four-year scores from a year ago. In addition to that, seven of our teams, including football, men's basketball, and baseball, bettered the national average for their sport by 15 points or more."

Now in its ninth year, the Academic Progress Rate measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. It also serves as a predictor of graduation success. The NCAA's Division I Board of Directors set cut scores of 925 and 900 (out of 1,000) as a threshold for teams to meet or face possible immediate and historical sanctions. An APR of 925 translates to approximately a 50 per cent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and an APR of 900 translates to approximately a 40 percent GSR.

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