For the fifth year in a row, Rutgers football is in the top 10 percent nationally in the Academic Progress Rate created by the NCAA. In the first year under head coach Kyle Flood, the seven-year member of the program said the academic success continues to be a top priority for his team.
"I think the APR is always important in every recruiting conversation," Flood said. "At some point, the parents and the players and people that are closest to the prospects, they always ask about it. It's something that I encourage them to ask everywhere they go. They should be comparing that just like they compare facilities and compare depth charts and all the other things that people use to make their decisions.
"This is a piece of the puzzle. Our players this semester had the highest semester GPA that we've had in 10 years and we're very excited about that because there's no reason why you can't have a national championship football program and also get a great education while you're doing it and that's the formula we try to use here at Rutgers."
The full APR details become available June 20. After finishing first and second in 2010 and 2011 respectively, Rutgers is on its way to another impressive standing in the APR. The Scarlet Knights are the only FBS program with four bowl wins and five top APR finishes in the last five years.
They are also the top rated state university in the FBS in terms of APR.
"We're excited about it as a program," Flood said. "I think it speaks to a couple things – the quality of the student athlete we bring to Rutgers, the quality of the support system we've been able to put in place around them. We're really proud of the education that all of our students get here at Rutgers University and to have our athletes, specifically our football players, achieving in this way is exciting for us."
Flood, who took over for 11-year coach Greg Schiano in the offseason, is proud of the way his team continues to stay focused on academics during a transition.
"I think, in a semester where there's been a lot of change for our players, it's obviously very important to them as well."
Scott Walker, head of the academic support staff for football, was one of many staffers to stay on during the coaching change and Flood said he is extremely pleased to have him aboard and continue to help the players find success in the classroom.
"He does a great job and he's got good people under him," Flood said. "I think any time you're able to succeed on the level we've been able to, to be in the top 10 percent each of the last five years, the only public institution in the country that's been able to do that. It speaks to the quality of the people at the top and Scott Walker heads that operation and he does a great job. He's a very valuable piece to the people we surround our program with."