USF teams recognized for academic success
The NCAA will release this year's Academic Progress Rate numbers on Wednesday, but to get the ball rolling, the individual college teams ranking in the top 10 percent of their sports were recognized Monday. Four USF teams -- the most of any school in Florida -- were among those honored: men's and women's golf, men's cross-country and women's softball.
Three of those teams had perfect scores of 1000 in last year's results, which equally value academic eligibility and retention (staying in school and on course to graduate). The fourth, softball, had a score of 993, the next-highest among USF's 17 teams.
What's more encouraging for USF is that only four of the Big East's other 15 schools had more than four teams ranking in the top 10 percent. Congrats to Georgetown, Notre Dame and Villanova, which had 11 teams each, accounting for 33 of the Big East's 63 teams. Marquette, with seven teams honored, was the other team with more than USF. The rest? DePaul also had four, Providence and Rutgers had three each, Connecticut, Syracuse and West Virginia had two each, Louisville and St. John's had one each, and ... Cincinnati and Pittsburgh had zero. As a whole, only two conferences -- the Ivy and Patriot leagues, all but in an academic realm of their own -- had more teams honored than the Big East.
Other state schools? Florida State and Florida had three each (bonus points to FSU for getting in the men's basketball top 10 percent), Miami had two and Jacksonville had one. No luck for Central Florida, Florida Atlantic or Florida International.
USF will get its numbers on Tuesday, with results made available to the public Wednesday. Expect the two USF teams that fell below the NCAA threshold of 925 -- football at 921 and men's basketball at 893 -- to continue to test that threshold, largely because of heavy turnover during the 2004-05 season that is still on the books for the cumulative APR scoring. Both teams avoided penalty last year because they were close enough to qualify with the squad-size allowances given because the results don't yet cover a four-year period.
-- It's not USF-related, but I find it interesting (though not entirely shocking) that of the 26 schools honored in football, only three came from BCS conferences, and those three colleges (Duke, Stanford and Boston College) weren't exactly world-beaters. Congrats to BC, which went 10-3, but Stanford went 1-11 and Duke went 0-12.
Men's basketball? Of the 35 teams honored, six are from the "major" conferences -- Illinois from the Big Ten, Florida State, North Carolina and Wake Forest from the ACC, and Notre Dame and Villanova from the Big East. Women's basketball? Out of 33 teams, seven are from the big leagues: Arizona State, Stanford and Washington from the Pac-10, DePaul and Villanova from Big East, UNC from the ACC and Ohio State from the Big Ten.