UT announces APR

The University of Tennessee men's and women's athletics departments announced on Wednesday academic progress rates (APR) for student-athletes. The APR report gives information about the academic progress and retention of student-athletes at the institution for the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years.

Once available, four years of data will be compiled to calculate a team's multiyear APR. The report provides an APR for each sport at the institution and national APR averages for various subgroups.

"We are very proud of our teams' performances in the classroom," said Fernandez West, interim director of the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center. "The NCAA's Academic Reform package has challenged student-athletes to improve their academic endeavors, and UT's student-athletes are stepping up to the challenge.

"Our goal is to make sure a student is always academically eligible to compete even if they are leaving the institution -- whether going pro or transferring. This positions the student for future academic success and eventual degree attainment."

The APR is based on each student-athlete having the opportunity to earn two points during each regular academic term of full-time enrollment (e.g., fall semester). One point is awarded if the student-athlete is academically eligible to compete in the following regular academic term (or has graduated). The other point is awarded if the student-athlete returns to the institution as a full-time student the next regular academic term or graduates from the university. The APR is calculated by adding all points earned by student-athletes over the past two academic years and dividing that number by the total possible points that could have been earned. That number then is multiplied by 1,000.

When a team's academic performance, measured by that team's APR, falls below 925, that team becomes subject to penalties if any student-athlete on that team did not return to the institution as a full-time student and was not academically eligible when the student-athlete left the institution. This penalty is known as a contemporaneous penalty and potentially limits the amount of athletics aid that the team may award.

UT's multi-year academic progress rates for individual sports were: Men's Sports APR

Baseball 865

Basketball 910+

Cross Country 947

Football 938

Golf 972

Swimming 914+

Tennis 939

Track, Indoor 936

Track, Outdoor 940

Women's Sports APR

Basketball 958

Cross Country 984

Rowing 983

Golf 989

Soccer 959

Softball 962

Swimming 975

Tennis 978

Track, Indoor 978

Track, Outdoor 978

Volleyball 976

+ - Denotes APR that does not subject the team to contemporaneous penalties due to the squad-size adjustment.

"I am very proud of the accomplishments our student-athletes have made," said Joan Cronan, women's athletic director. "Now we not only keep score on the field of play, but the APR is the win-loss record in the classroom, which is in accord with our mission statement that our student-athletes are students first."

A key focus for the Tennessee athletics program is to graduate student-athletes and prepare them for real-world experiences. In 2001, UT opened the Thornton Center to provide student-athletes with superior academic support programs and personal and career development assistance. Since the creation of the Thornton Center, Tennessee's student-athletes have achieved increasing academic success:

-- In 2005-06, 79 current and former Vols and Lady Vols graduated from UT, continuing Tennessee's athletics commitment to excellence in the classroom. This group boasts 56 SEC honor roll and 71 Thornton Center honor roll recognitions.

-- Tennessee had 224 student-athletes, or 47 percent, who achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher in fall 2005 and 243 student-athletes, or 51 percent, who achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher in spring 2006.

-- Twenty former scholarship student-athletes have returned to earn their bachelor's degrees through the Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) program since fall 2003.

"The Thornton Center has been very active in the NCAA's academic progression discussions and has put in place a great framework to make sure our athletes stay on track," said Mike Hamilton, men's athletics director. "If our student-athletes aren't winning academically, they won't be competing."

With the recent changes to NCAA rules for academic progression, the role of the Thornton Center is even more important. The new academic progress towards degree requirements call for student-athletes to complete various percentages toward degrees, achieve specific grade-point averages, and other requirements to remain eligible to compete.

The university encourages former athletes who left in good standing to return to the university to achieve their degree. The RAC Program works with former student-athletes by assisting them with advice on degree requirements remaining, course scheduling, tutoring, employment and internship opportunities offered through the CHAMPS/Life Skills Office, and use of the Thornton Center for their every day needs.

There currently are 20 former scholarship student-athletes working with the RAC Program and more than 20 that have inquired about returning to school in the near future.

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