USF anticipates solid APR gains in key sports
A new set of Academic Progress Rate scores from the NCAA show USF down in several major sports, but Bulls officials are confident that a strong showing in the past academic year will raise scores significantly in football, baseball and men's basketball.
"The annual scores have gone up in the three sports where there is scrutiny," executive associate athletic director Bill McGillis said Tuesday. "Football is on a trajectory like this (arm raising upwards). Men's basketball is on a trajectory like this, and baseball will have the highest (APR) in the nation."
-- Baseball, which was the only USF team that saw a penalty imposed by the NCAA, posted a perfect APR score of 1000 last fall and is expected to post the same score this spring. The Bulls, who surrendered 1.27 scholarships this school year as a penalty for previous APR scores, posted the highest GPA in the program's history in the fall of 2008.
-- Men's basketball, which has USF's lowest APR score at 878, well under the NCAA's mark of 925 at which a team is susceptible to penalties, should see major gains in next year's scores. USF anticipates a one-year score of 977 for the 2008-09 school year, which should raise the team's multi-year score to 915. USF's only points lost on APR in the past year came from players transferring to other schools, and second-year coach Stan Heath has seen every senior graduate from USF since he arrived.
-- Football, which needed a conditional NCAA waiver to avoid penalties for its 909 score, is expected to again exceed its required score of 937 for the 2008-09 school year and as such will face no penalties. USF estimates an '08-09 score of 944, which should raise the multi-year score to 925 when the next cycle of scores is released in spring 2010.
While only three of 17 sports at USF scored above the national average for Division I programs, athletic director Doug Woolard said he is encouraged by the academic direction of the program, especially in sports that have lower APR scores. Across all teams, the overall GPA of USF athletes was 2.91 in the fall semester, the highest for any fall semester since 2001.
"I am pleased with the academic progress of our baseball, football and men's basketball programs," Woolard said in a statement. "(Baseball) Coach (Lelo) Prado deserves a great amount of praise for the academic success he has fostered within his program. Our football and men's basketball teams continue to make improvements and are steadily increasing their scores."