Cougs receive good academic news on APR

WHILE STILL UNDER the average mandated by the NCAA in its tracking of the academic progress of college athletes, Washington State's football team will not lose any scholarships this year. Big improvement in the newest numbers, coupled with the academic plan put in place by Paul Wulff, spared the Cougs, who lost eight scholies a year ago.

The NCAA's Academic Progress Rate -- or APR -- is a metric that measures the success or failure of college teams in moving their athletes toward graduation.

WSU's four-year rolling average in football is now 918. In numbers released today by the NCAA, WSU's football team scored 922 for 2007-08 -- three points below the minimum requirement of 925. Last year, WSU scored 874 for the 2006-07 academic year, courtesy of eight players who left the program while academically ineligible.

WSU didn't make any appeals a year ago, but in light of the significant improvement this year the school asked the NCAA to forego scholarship penalties this time. The NCAA agreed to the request, similar to how the NCAA granted waivers to Oregon and Arizona in recent years when they were below the 925 cutoff.

Over on the hardcourt, Washington State's men's basketball team's score for 2007-08 was 980. The team's four-year rolling average is 946 -- a substantial gain from last year's 905 four year cumulative score.

Last year, like the football team, men's hoops was under the 925 benchmark but WSU did not lose any hoops scholarships because they did not have any players depart during the 2006-07 year while academically ineligible.

Back to football.

This past December, WSU placed 15 players on the Pac-10 All-Academic team, tying them for the most in the conference.

Washington State's APR is expected to climb further next spring when the numbers from Wulff's first year, 2008-09, are added into the four-year rolling average.

Likely taken into account by the NCAA this year was the solid academic track record Wulff logged during his time at Eastern Washington, posting a four-year APR of 940, and the academic plan Wulff has implemented at Washington State and the amount of progress made.

The APR is based on both acadmic eligibility and retention. Although WSU was tagged with a subpar 874 last year, the football team last year was graduating its student-athletes at a rate four percent higher than the national Division I average, which also ranked second in the Pac-10. The Cougs' football cumulative team grade point average following the spring of 2007 was also the fourth-highest ever.

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