Football leads big gains for USF in APR scores
USF has had its share of problems with the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate scores in years past, but new results released Wednesday show significant progress for the Bulls, especially in football, baseball and men's basketball.
USF's four-year football score, graded out of 1000, jumped from 909 to 930, matching Illinois for the largest improvement by any BCS football program. The Bulls are now above the NCAA's threshold score of 925, eliminating any possible penalty, and USF's annual football APR went up for the third year in a row, from 879 to 937 to 947 to this year's 956.
"The 956 is telling me that we're a healthy, sustainable program now, because we're looking at another great year," said Amy Perkins, USF's associate athletic director for student-athlete development. "Most definitely, our trends are up."
USF's football APR is no longer the lowest in the Big East -- Louisville has that with a 926 -- and isn't the lowest among the state's four major programs, with Florida State below the Bulls at 927.
The Bulls saw more dramatic improvement in baseball, where this year's APR score of 991 -- one mark short of a perfect 1000 -- increased USF's four-year score to 913. Men's basketball also registered a high score with a 977, raising its four-year score an impressive 37 points from 878 to 915. Perkins said she is confident that both the baseball and men's basketball scores will be above the NCAA cut line of 925 by next year.
In all, 13 of USF's 17 athletic teams saw their APR score trend up from last year, with transfers accounting for the dropoff in the other four sports more so than any academic or eligibility issues.
The Bulls' highest overall scores came on the women's side, with softball (994), golf (993) and tennis (991) leading the way. In annual scores for the 2008-09 school year, five Bulls teams scored a perfect score of 1000: men's cross-country and tennis and women's softball, tennis and volleyball.
The newest scores reflect the four-year window that ended last spring, so USF's progress doesn't include recent initiatives like one that in January outfitted every USF student-athlete with an Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer. Perkins said once USF has a full year with the laptops in use, there should be even more improvement to the APR scores and graduation rates.
"I anticipate this time two years from now, we're really going to see a jump because of the technology," she said. "All the trends are going up for next year. Those look really good."
For more on USF and other schools' APR scores, visit the NCAA's official site.