Tiders Getting Job Done In Classroom

Not only are Alabama athletes making the grade, in some respects the Crimson Tide is setting the academic curve. In the NCAA's latest Academic Progress Rate, Bama athletics had to rate an A.

All 21 University of Alabama teams scored well above the national cutoff standard of 930 in APR as figures were released covering the four-year period extending from the 2009-10 through the 2012-13 academic years.

Moreover, 17 Crimson Tide teams that were above the national average in their respective sports.

Particularly notable, both the men's and women's golf teams and the women's tennis team – all of which, coincidentally, are among the very best athletically and playing for national championships – had perfect scores of 1,000 over the period.

"At The University of Alabama, our ongoing mission is to recruit and develop student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in intercollegiate athletics, to educate and prepare our student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in life after graduation, and to accomplish all this with honor and integrity," UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. "Our continued success in terms of our APR scores, coupled with the tremendous success we've enjoyed athletically over the four years that this report encompasses, shows that we are excelling at the highest level in all areas of our mission."

The two Tide golf teams and the women's tennis team received public recognition from the NCAA for their APR scores figuring in the top 10 percentile in the nation in their sports. (Obviously, with perfect scores, they figured in the top 1 percentile.) Those teams have also been champions in competition. The men's golf team, ranked first in the nation this year, has won three consecutive Southeastern Conference championships and is trying to repeat as NCAA Champion. Women's golf was 2012 national champion and 2013 SEC champion. And women's tennis won this year's SEC title.

In addition to national recognition, eight Crimson Tide teams ranked among the top three in their respective sports in the SEC. Baseball, men's and women's golf, soccer and women's tennis were all ranked No. 1, gymnastics was ranked No. 2 while football and men's outdoor track and field were ranked No. 3 in the league.

There were 16 Alabama sports that either matched or exceeded their APR from the year before, including four teams – women's cross country, rowing, soccer, and volleyball – that bettered their previous score by five points.

The men's golf, women's golf and women's tennis teams all scored a perfect 1,000 for their four-year score. Those three teams were joined by the 2011 and 2012 NCAA and 2014 SEC champion gymnastics team (995), the 2012 NCAA and 2014 SEC champion softball team (993) as well as the women's cross country (994) and soccer teams (993) among the seven UA programs with scores above 990.

The Tide's men's basketball (984), baseball (981), men's cross country (987), women's swimming & diving (988), men's tennis (984), and men's swimming and diving (981) teams were also among the teams that posted scores of 980 or better.

"Our APR scores continue to be very positive," Alabama Associate Athletic Director for Student Services Jon Dever said. "Three of our sports earned NCAA recognition with perfect four-year scores of 1,000 and all 21 teams were at least 30 points above the 930 mark, including 14 teams that scored 980 or better. We also saw 16 of our teams equal or improve their four-year averages from a year ago. All told, nine of our teams bettered the national average for their sport by 10 points or more and five, football, men's basketball, men's and women's golf and women's tennis, bettered the national average by 15 points or more."

Now in its 11th 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 930 (out of 1,000) as a threshold for teams to meet or face possible immediate and historical sanctions. An APR of 930 translates to approximately a 50 per cent Graduation Success Rate (GSR).

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