UT teams miss APR mark

The University of Tennessee is one of only two BCS schools to have three teams sanctioned by the NCAA for falling below the Academic Progress Report (APR) guidelines. West Virginia is the other.

To meet the APR requirements, a team must maintain a score of 925 or better during a two-year span. Tennessee fell short of the mark in men's basketball (911), men's swimming (920) and baseball (879). The Vol basketball and swimming teams surrendered one scholarship each last season as penance for having a student-athlete leave while academically ineligible. The baseball team avoided this so-called "contemporaneous penalty" via an appeal.

West Virginia, meanwhile, was sanctioned for academic shortcomings in men's soccer, wrestling and women's rowing. UT and WVU are the only BCS schools with more than one program currently under sanctions.

NCAA president Myles Brand says that programs who continue to underachieve could see their practice opportunities reduced and/or be banned from NCAA postseason play. Published reports suggest that nearly 150 programs currently face scholarship losses, with another 26 facing possible postseason bans due to academic shortcomings.

On a positive note, Brand reports that APR scores are up in 26 of 29 sports over the past four years. Baseball made a 12-point gain since 2003 and football an 11-point gain during the same time frame. This reportedly has elevated the graduation rate for both sports into the mid 60s.

While football and baseball continue to rise, men's basketball continues to flounder. The latest NCAA figures show the nationwide APR in this sport is a mediocre 906.2 – nearly 20 points below the acceptable standard.

Tennessee released its APR numbers earlier today. They show that all of the Lady Vol sports are well above the 925 target score. All of the men's sports are in good shape, too, except the three mentioned earlier.

Here are the scores provided by the University:

Men's Sports APR

Baseball 879

Basketball 911

Cross Country 950

Football 948

Golf 978

Swimming 920

Tennis 937

Track, Indoor 936

Track, Outdoor 938

Women's Sports APR

Basketball 963

Cross Country 983

Rowing 985

Golf 992

Soccer 962

Softball 957

Swimming 974

Tennis 983

Track, Indoor 968

Track, Outdoor 968

Volleyball 977

Along with the APR scores, Tennessee released a statement from Fernandez West, associate director of the Thornton Academic Center. It reads:

"We are very proud of our teams' performance in the classroom. 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 coaches' input and effort into the APR really has helped increase or maintain some of the APR numbers."

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