Posted by Matt Norlander
The head coaches pictured above -- Texas' Rick Barnes at left, Kansas' Bill Self shaking Barnes' hand -- are two of the three BCS-conference coaches who earned perfect Academic Progress Rate scores for the 2009-10 academic year. If you're not quite familiar with what the APR is or does, quite simply it's a relatively newly established measuring tool that determines how effective schools (and coaches) are at graduating student-athletes. If schools don't reach a certain number (925), they receive punishments in the form of loss of scholarships and postseason bans, most notably. This year, five schools were hit with a no-postseason hammer: Cal-State Northridge, Chicago State, Grambling, Louisiana-Monroe and Southern.
Chicago State had a jaw-droppingly bad 823, far and away the worst. It's akin to having a credit score in the 370s -- so bad, you must be trying to get that low.
No, it is not a perfect system. But it's better than what we had a for most of the NCAA's history: no measurements or punishments of any kind for coaches and schools who don't keep their kids in the classroom.
Below, I've tallied the APR scores for the 2009-10 year, which were released in full yesterday -- a few months ahead of the pace they were released last year, in August. The number next to the conference is the average APR, and I've listed the six major leagues in order of best to worst. If you'd like to see the results from last year, and how the conferences stack up against each other in the six-year history of the APR, I chronicled it at College Hoops Journal.
A few notes:
- Arkansas has the lowest among the group, with an 892.
- Connecticut barely beats out the Hogs, putting up an 893, meaning the defending national champs will lose two scholarships.
- LSU was the only other major-conference team to be docked a scholarship. If Arkansas can't get its APR up quickly, it too will feel the chop next year.
- Even if they stayed in the Big East's basement doing it, former DePaul coach Tracy Webster got the program atop the APR with a 1,000.
- Bill Self has now gotten Kansas to as many perfect years (five) as Northwestern, the most among their BCS-conference brethren.
- Butler, again, posted a perfect 1,000 mark. Other prominent schools from mid-major conferences: BYU, 991; Memphis, 989, Gonzaga, 985; VCU, 949. Holy Cross and Columbia were the only other schools in men's hoops who put up 1Ks.
- Men's college basketball in whole averaged a 945. The student-athlete collective average in the NCAA is a 970.