Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
While the NCAA often evokes groans and hostile feelings from college sports fans for its handling of situations on the field, the governing body is continuing to see progress and growth in the classroom by way of improved Academic Progress Rates (APR).
The NCAA uses APR scores to assess eligibility and retention of student-athletes, which then can be used as a barometer for graduation rates. A score of 925 is equivalent to about a 50-percent graduation rate, and anything less than that garners penalties.
To come up with APR scores, the NCAA looked at a multi-year period, spanning the 2008-2009 academic year to that of 2011-2012.
According to USAToday.com, college athletics as a whole has improved, with fewer schools falling below 900–the benchmark to be eligible for post-season play–but because of a reevaluation of the structure of penalties, there has been a slight increase of teams receiving some form of punishment.
"Though the number of teams receiving APR penalties has decreased dramatically since 2006-07, when more than 100 fell into that category, the number of teams ineligible for the postseason has slightly increased. In 2011, the penalty structure was revamped to provide three different levels, including loss of practice time, loss of scholarships and even an NCAA-mandated reduction in number of games played."
For USC, the Trojans posted a 945 APR score in football, ninth in the Pac-12 and four points below the national average. In basketball on the other hand, the Men of Troy scored 957, five points above national average and tied for eighth in Pac-12.
Clearly there is some room for improvement on the gridiron; in last year’s APR, the Trojans scored 947–two points higher–in football and were still ninth in the conference.
As a whole, the Pac-12’s football APR scores are as follows:1. Stanford (978)2. UCLA (966)3. Utah (963)4. Oregon State (957)5. Arizona (956)6. Washington (954)7. Oregon (951)8. Colorado (946)9. USC (945)10. Washington State (942)11. Arizona State (937)12. Cal (935)