APR scores headed in right direction for Georgia

Georgia will avoid any penalties in the latest Academic Progress Rate scores that will be released later this month.

All of Georgia’s 20 teams easily missed falling below a score of 925 (out of 1,000) that is the danger zone for penalties, including scholarship loss, for poor academic performance, according to the school’s APR report obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald under an open records request.

“We’ve been doing great with the APR,” said Glada Horvat, Georgia’s senior associate athletic director for academics and eligibility. “We don’t have any teams that will get penalized.”

Football posted a 976 score, up three points from last year when it ranked second in the Southeastern Conference.

It was one of 11 teams that saw an improvement from last year, while five declined and four matched their same scores.

Where Georgia stacks up in the SEC in each sport will be known when the NCAA releases scores publicly on May 24. Top performing teams will receive public recognition awards on May 17.

The APR is the metric the NCAA uses to measure eligibility and retention of scholarship athletes for each individual Division I team over a four-year period. The multi-year APR numbers being released later this month come from data from the 2006-07 academic year through 2009-10.

The NCAA also compiles a “Graduation Success Rate,” that was released last fall. Georgia’s was 77 percent. That tracked athletes who entered as freshmen between 2000-03 and graduated within six years.

“This is a more real-time measure for us of how our program’s doing,” Horvat said. “I think it’s more meaningful than the graduation rates because they get to be so old. This is, ‘Did these students make the necessary steps to be eligible the following semester? Did they return to your school?’ It’s two simple questions and you get points if they do those things. We’re showing that most of our students return eligible.”

Men’s golf, which scored 1,000, was the top scoring men’s team this year at Georgia. That matched its score from the previous year.

The top women’s teams were cross country at 996 and basketball at 995.

Men’s basketball was the lowest of all teams with a 946, but it had a two-point gain from the previous year.

Baseball climbed to 952 from 941 last year. Its scores have risen each year since a 916 in 2004-05.

“Baseball has some struggles just because of the nature of the sport,” Horvat said. “Sometimes people don’t want to go to summer school and they wait and get eligible using fall credit, but the NCAA put a stop to that. You have to be eligible now heading into the fall. It’s a little bit of a culture change. I think that’s really showing in the APR that those guys will get it done and be ready for eligibility come fall.”

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