TAMPA —Continuing an effort to improve the academic performance of USF's athletes, a new attendance policy for football players will call for a game suspension after a fifth unexcused missed class in any semester.
"We need to make sure our students realize it's crucial they attend every class when they're not traveling for competition," said Amy Haworth, USF's associate athletic director for academics. "The correlation between (attendance and academic success) is so high."
USF football has specific incentive to improve its academic performance. The Bulls had the lowest Academic Progress Rate score of any BCS football program last year and barely avoided penalties from the NCAA. The APR weighs retention as much as academic eligibility, and much of USF's problems stem from high turnover as the Bulls moved to the Big East in 2005; that year won't count toward the APR's four-year window in next year's scores.
Other USF teams already have similar policies in place, including the potential for suspension for games. Haworth said the men's basketball team will institute its own policy for the fall semester.
A football player's first three unexcused absences in any class in a semester do not carry specific penalties, but coaches and administrators are notified and the coach has the discretion to use extra running or sessions with an academic counselor. A fourth unexcused absence means a player will miss a practice, and each subsequent absence will result in suspension from a game.
Irish, Army to invade new Yankee Stadium
Notre Dame and Army will play the first football game at the new Yankee Stadium next year, rekindling a tradition that took off after coach Knute Rockne's "Win one for the Gipper" speech more than 80 years ago. The teams will meet in 2010, across the street from where they played nearly every year from 1925 to 1946, the Associated Press reported.
An official announcement is expected next week. Notre Dame still has two dates not scheduled for next year, including one home game. November would appear to be a prime month to play Army.
Army also is expected to play more games in the future at the $1.5 billion baseball stadium, with possibly Rutgers and Syracuse.
"I think it's great. I'm excited to watch it — as long as they don't do it in September," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Southern miss: Running back Damion Fletcher, suspended since pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of firing a gun in the parking lot of an apartment complex, has been reinstated.
Women's basketball: Georgia coach Andy Landers has signed to stay through the 2013-14 season.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.