Tide Athletes Win In Classroom, Too

Alabama coaches and athletics department administrators don't just talk the talk on academics. Crimson Tide athletes are sprinters when it comes to being students first. It's not just because it's the right thing that Bama has put an emphasis on academics with things like the establishment of the Bryant Center. There is also the practical concern of NCAA penalties for slippage.

All 21 University of Alabama varsity teams scored above the national cutoff standard of 925 in the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR), the NCAA announced Wednesday. In addition, 15 Crimson Tide teams posted scores above the national Division I average in their respective sports. Figures released covered the four-year period extending from the 2005-06 through 2008-09 school years.

"We continue to be pleased with The University of Alabama's showing in the annual Academic Progress Rate report," Crimson Tide Director of Athletics Mal Moore said. "I am especially proud that in a year when we achieved so much athletically, that we continue to do well in the classroom. Making sure that all our student-athletes receive a quality education is certainly our number one priority and I believe this report speaks to our efforts in that regard."

Now in its sixth 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 most recent APR scores are based on a multi-year rate that averages scores from the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09 academic years. 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 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and an APR of 900 translates to approximately a 40 percent GSR.

This is the fifth year of immediate (or contemporaneous) penalties for teams that score below 925 APR, and have a student-athlete who leaves school academically ineligible. This year marks the fourth year for historical penalties. Second-year sanctions include restrictions on scholarships and practice time. Teams that receive three straight years of historical penalties (below 900 APR) face the potential of restrictions on postseason competition for the team, in addition to scholarship and practice restrictions.

The Tide softball team, which won the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championship, recently received public recognition from the NCAA for its APR score figuring in the top 10 percentile nationally among teams in that sport. The softball team (997) was joined by the 2010 SEC Champion women's golf team (992) as well as the men's golf (994), women's cross country (994), gymnastics (987), women's swimming & diving (986), and women's tennis (985) teams in achieving the highest scores by Alabama teams.

The Tide's 2009 National Champion football team achieved a score of 957, a higher mark than the national average for football teams at Football Bowl Subdivision schools (947) and all Division I schools (944).

Over the last three years, only one UA team has failed to reach the national standard of 925. That team, men's basketball in 2009, bounced back this year, bettering its multi-year score by 44 points, coming in at 966, well above the national Division I average of 940.

"There is much to be proud of in this report, including the fact that all of our teams are above the 925 mark and that 14 (UA) programs improved their multiyear rate from a year ago," Assistant Athletics Director for Student Services Jon Dever said. "Five of our teams earned perfect scores of 1,000 for the 2008-09 academic year and the men's basketball program, the only team under 925 season last year, made remarkable strides, bettering its multi-year score by more than 40 points."

Other scores by teams are:

Men–Baseball (949), cross country (962), swimming & diving 962, tennis (982), indoor track & field (937), outdoor track & field (935).

Women–Basketball (967), rowing (967), soccer (978), indoor track & field (977), outdoor track & field (977), and volleyball (979).

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