APR won't be a hated acronym on the University of Connecticut campus this year.
UConn's men's basketball program, banned from postseason play in 2013 because of past inadequacies with its Academic Progress Rate, made the grade Tuesday when the NCAA announced the most recent set of scores. That means the Huskies are academically eligible for the 2014 NCAA tournament.
The men's team posted a 947 out of 1000 for the 2011-12 school year. Combined with a 978 score from 2010-11 – the year UConn won the national championship in men's basketball – the Huskies have a two-year average APR score of 963. Under the most recent APR rules implemented by the NCAA, a program is required to post a 900 average over four years or 930 over two years.
UConn's four-year average of 897 is just shy of the NCAA standard, but the two-year average means the Huskies can take part in postseason play again.
"Our men's basketball team again had an outstanding APR score for the second-straight season and I want to congratulate the student-athletes, Coach [Jim] Calhoun, Coach [Kevin] Ollie and the rest of the coaching staff for that accomplishment," UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. "I think it is particularly noteworthy that they earned these scores during a time in which they were playing incredibly competitive basketball, particularly in their great run to the national championship in 2011."
Manuel told the Associated Press: "These kids didn't get down on themselves. They didn't stop performing on the court and they didn't stop performing academically, and that is a credit to those kids."
The men's program reacted over recent years with measures to improve its academic performance. A series of academic checks and balances, including attendance at summer school sessions and following a path to graduation, were put in place and apparently have improved academic performance.
Fifteen NCAA teams were ineligible for postseason play in 2012-13. The NCAA reported Tuesday that six men's basketball programs will be ineligible for 2013-14: Alabama State, Florida International, Grambling State, Mississippi Valley State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and New Orleans. New Orleans is also ineligible in women's basketball. Alabama State, Mississippi Valley State and Savannah State were on the ineligible list in football.
The NCAA reported that the most recent four-year Division I APR is 974, up one point over last year. The average four-year rate also rose two points in men's and women's basketball, while the rates held steady in baseball and football. in the classroom and campuses to support them in their education.
UConn issued the following release on the athletic department's overall report:
Twenty of the 24 athletic programs at UConn achieved a score of 970 or better, out of a possible 1000, in the multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) while 16 of 24 had scores over 970 for the 2011-12 academic year. A total of three Husky teams had perfect 1000 multi-year scores while nine had perfect single-year scores.
Among the highlights for UConn in the latest NCAA report were:
*The single-year score of 947 by the men's basketball team in a season in which UConn played in the NCAA tournament, which followed a single-year score of 978 in which UConn won the NCAA national championship. UConn's two-year score is 963. ?
* A multi-year score of 984 for the women's basketball team during a time period in which UConn won two national championships and played in the Final Four all four seasons.
* A multi-year score of 958 for the football team during a time period in which UConn played in bowl games in three seasons. The football team's score is 11 points higher than the average football score for all public institutions.
* A near-perfect multi-year score of 996 for the field hockey team in a period when the Huskies went to the NCAA tournament all four years and the national semifinal in 2011.
* A multi-year score of 985 for the men's outdoor track and field team during a period when the Huskies won two BIG EAST Championships.
* A multi-year score of 988 for the women's indoor track and field during a time period when the Huskies won a BIG EAST Championship.
* A perfect 1000 multi-year score for the men's cross country, women's tennis and men's golf teams and a perfect 1000 single-year score for the men's cross country, field hockey, women's lacrosse, women's soccer, softball, men's tennis, men's outdoor track and field and women's tennis teams.
"I want to congratulate the student-athletes on all 24 of our teams for their outstanding success in the classroom," said Manuel. "The commitment of our Husky student-athletes to excellence in both academics and athletics is a source of pride to our entire University. I want to thank the coaching staffs of all our sports and the staff of the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletics for all their efforts as well."
Those Husky teams that scored a 970 or higher on the multi-year scores were: baseball (972), women's basketball (984), men's cross country (1000), women's cross country (985), field hockey (996), golf (1000), men's ice hockey (981), women's ice hockey (979), women's lacrosse (990), women's rowing (989), women's soccer (985), softball (989), women's swimming and diving (986), men's tennis (993), women's tennis (1000), men's indoor track and field (985), women's indoor track and field (988), women's outdoor track and field (989), men's outdoor track and field (985) and volleyball (970).
UConn teams that scored a 970 or higher on the single-year score were: women's basketball (976), men's cross country (1000), women's cross country (1000), field hockey (1000), women's ice hockey (987), women's lacrosse (1000), women's rowing (986), women's soccer (1000), softball (1000), men's swimming and diving (978), women's swimming and diving (975), men's tennis (1000), women's tennis (1000), men's indoor track and field (980), men's outdoor track and field (1000) and women's outdoor track and field (989).
Last week, the NCAA announced that three UConn athletic programs were recognized for top academic performance as part of the NCAA's academic reform program. Based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates, the UConn men's golf, women's soccer and women's tennis programs have earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards. These awards are given each year to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with their APRs.