Schiano Discusses APR Achievement

For the third straight year Rutgers football is in the top 10 percent nationally in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate ranknings. The Scarlet Knights football team were joined by the school's women's tennis team, men's cross country team and women's gymnastics teams in receiving special recognition from the NCAA for their academic efforts.

For a third straight year Rutgers football is in the top 10 percent nationally in the Academic Progress Rate, making it the only state university to hold the distinction the last three years.

Furthermore, the women's tennis team and men's cross country team also finished in the top 10 percent for a third straight year, and the women's gymnastics team was honored for first time.

Each of the programs received public recognition from the NCAA for its efforts.

""I am really proud of the guys and the effort it takes to do that,'' Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano said. "I think it starts with our players. They care about that stuff, and they work hard at it. The assistant coaches and the academic support staff, Scott Walker and his staff, Jenna Beverly and Darrick Brown, these are people who really care. All those factors end up with this result.

"Rutgers is a challenging school. For them to be able to do that in the environment they're in, I think it's very good.''

Rutgers' football program joins Air Force as the only teams in the top 10 percent to win its bowl game last season, and is one of seven teams Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) ranked in the top 10 percent.

Where each of the programs ranks in the nation will be released at a later date, but there is belief at Rutgers the football program could be No. 1 in the nation. The Scarlet Knights ranked third each of the last two years.

"There's certainly a culture that's been established in our program, that expectation level,'' Schiano said. "On the same hand, it's a very challenging academic environment, and it gets more challenging every day, so the competition our student-athletes are competing with in the classroom is continually rising as well.''

Schiano added the academic success feeds attracts those types of recruits.

"I think recruiting is going well, and this is just one more great thing we can share with our recruits. This is not a one-time, or a two-time thing. This is consistently our players performing on the field and in the classroom.''

This year's APR is based on a four-year academic calendar, which ended with the 2008-09 academic year.

"I hope that we attract guys like that because of what we've been able to accomplish not only on the field, but in the classroom,'' Schiano said. "One of the things now, after doing it a number of years, and after consistently going to bowl games and winning bowl games, I think the kind of young person we're going to attract is someone serious in both academics and football.''

Rutgers' women's tennis team went 14-8 overall, and 7-3 in Big East play. The men's cross country team was led by Simon Gordonov, who was awarded the Goldwater and Churchill scholarships. And women's gymnastics had 18 members earn all-East Atlantic Gymnastics League Academic honors.

"These distinguished results are consistent with our mission of creating an environment of excellence for Rutgers student-athletes to earn degrees and win championships," Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said. "We are so proud of the continued commitment to academic success of all our student-athletes at Rutgers. Today is a true testament to the hard work of our student-athletes, coaches, and academic support staff."

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