Tide Athletes Do It In Class, Too

Is there a correlation in performance in athletics and achievement in athletics? Perhaps there is not a direct parallel owing to natural talent, but certainly a connection insofar as self-motivation. And so it is no surprise that The University of Alabama's exceptional athletics department is also well above the norm academically.

For the past 10 years the NCAA has monitored the performance of athletes in the classroom through its Academic Progress Rate. The APR 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 900 (out of 1,000) as a threshold for teams to meet or face possible immediate and historical sanctions. That mark will rise to 930 next year. An APR of 930 translates to approximately a 50 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR).

All 21 University of Alabama varsity athletics teams scored well above the national cutoff standard of 930 in the latest APR. In addition, 16 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 2008-09 through 2011-12 school years.

A school-best total of five Alabama teams, including the Tide's national champion football and men's golf teams, recently received public recognition from the NCAA for their APR scores figuring in the top 10 percentile nationally among teams in those sports. Women's golf, the 2012 NCAA Championship team, earned the APR honor for the third consecutive year, the women's tennis team for the second year in a row, and the men's basketball team for the first time.

Athletics Director Bill Battle said, "Our mission at The University of Alabama is to: one - recruit and develop student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in intercollegiate athletics; two - educate and prepare our student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in life after graduation; and three - accomplish all this with honor and integrity.

"These scores over the last four years are proof that the Crimson Tide is performing at a championship level in all areas, which is a point of great pride for the department."

In addition to its national recognition, the Tide's back-to-back national champion football team as well as the men's basketball team posted the highest APR scores in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama and Duke were the only NCAA Division I schools in the country to have both their football and men's basketball team honored.

The Tide football team's APR continues to rise, jumping eight points to 978 this year, which is 24 points higher than the national football average. The men's basketball team moved up 11 points to a 995 four-year mark, which puts Alabama 43 points above the national average for men's basketball.

The men's golf teams, women's golf and women's tennis teams all scored a perfect 1,000 for their four-year score while men's basketball posted a 995. Those four teams were joined by 2012 NCAA champion softball team (990), the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Champion gymnastics team (991) and the men's tennis team (993) among UA programs with scores above 990.

The Tide's women's cross country (989), soccer (988), men's cross country (985), women's swimming & diving (984), men's swimming and diving (981) teams all posted scores of 980 or better.

"Our APR report continues to be very positive," Associate Athletics Director for Student Services Jon Dever said. "Five of our sports earned NCAA recognition and three earned perfect scores of 1,000 and all 21 teams were at least 30 points above the 930 mark, including 12 teams that scored 980 or better. We also saw 17 of our teams equal or improve their four-year scores from a year ago. All told, nine of our teams bettered the national average for their sport by 10 points or more and three -- football, men's basketball, and men's golf -- bettered the national average by 24 points or more."

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