USF pleased with APR results
The NCAA revealed the Academic Progress Result ratings for its schools Wednesday, and while USF saw an overall drop in its scores, none of the Bulls programs are low enough to warrant any sanctions or scholarship losses from the NCAA.
"We're a school that doesn't have any kind of penalty, and at this stage, there are quite a few schools facing some severe penalties," said Amy Haworth, USF's associate athletic director for academics.
The Big East as a whole largely escaped any penalties. The only member schools losing any scholarships were Cincinnati, which lost one scholarship in men's basketball, and Rutgers, which lost a half-scholarship in women's fencing and 0.46 scholarships in men's wrestling.
Of USF's 17 athletic teams, nine saw their scores fall from a year ago. Four were unchanged, including USF's three perfect scores of 1000, from men's and women's golf and men's cross-country. Next best is softball, which upgraded its near-perfect score from 993 to 995, good enough to rank in the top 10 percent of all NCAA softball teams.
Last year, only football and men's basketball fell under the NCAA threshold score of 925, and both teams stayed under that mark. Football dropped from 921 to 910, while basketball rose from 893 to 898.
Volleyball, which barely passed last year with a 935, saw its score drop to 914, which does not result in any penalty because the NCAA makes squad-size adjustments that give teams some leeway under the 925. Volleyball's score -- due primarily to a rash of transfers last summer -- places USF in the bottom 10 percent of all volleyball teams, however, the lowest relative rank among the Bulls' 17 teams.
Four teams improved their scores slightly -- softball, and both basketball teams, with the women rising from 972 to 973, and women's soccer, which improved from 974 to 978.
Of the nine teams whose scores dropped, four fell by 15 points or less, which could translate to a change in academics from one or two athletes -- baseball (967 to 952), football (921 to 910), men's soccer (958 to 947) and women's cross country (968 to 954). Larger turns came from men's tennis, which went from 976 to 954, and volleyball, again dropping from 935 to 914.
The biggest drops were in USF's track programs -- men's outdoor track went from 979 to 948, women's indoor track from 992 to 966 and women's outdoor track from a perfect 1000 to a 968, which falls in the lower half of women's outdoor scores nationally. Again, the problems are more in retention than academic standing, with large rosters that tend to be more revolving than other sports. USF has gone through a coaching change in the past year, with Warren Bye taking over both teams from Greg Thiel.
This year's APR scores reflect data from the 2003-04 through 2005-06 school years. Next year's will be the first to pull from a four-year cycle, and subsequent scores will show a four-year cycle from then on. The APR equally values academic eligibility and retention (staying in school and on course to graduate).
USF continues to expand its academic assistance staff, adding four academic advisers in the past year to give the Bulls nine total.