NCAA sees improvement in student-athletes’ academic performance

The academic performance of student athletes has always been an issue, but the NCAA has seen improvement since the Academic Progress Rate (APR) was created a decade ago. The four-year APR average for Division I schools was up one point from last year’s.

The APR is the NCAA’s way of holding all Division I institutions to a higher academic standard. Starting in 2012-2013, teams must meet the average APR standards for two and four year averages (a minimum 900 four-year APR or 930 over the most recent two-year span) in order to avoid restrictions to their participation in Division I athletics.

Over the next couple years, the NCAA hopes to establish a mandatory 930 score for Division I, which should result in a 50 percent graduation rate. The scores are measured based on team eligibility and their ability to retain each of their student-athletes, each term.

“These are strong and meaningful academic standard, and we are pleased to witness the continued improvement of student-athletes’ academic performance,” NCAA President Mark Emmert told the LA Times. “The NCAA and its member schools believe in supporting success, both on and off the playing field.”

Football and basketball, two sports where student-athletes tend to leave school before graduating and do not perform as well in class, have seen their scores go up. Other NCAA division I sports have not done as well at maintaining the standards the APR sets out. However, the NCAA has seen an increase in former student-athletes returning to school to complete their degrees.

“The former student-athletes who have returned to school and completed in their degree are a powerful testament to the value of education,” Emmert said.

With the new standards and restrictions put in place by the APR in order to maintain high academic performance among Division I student-athletes, some schools may see an increase in athletes competing in all four years of eligibility, or returning later on to complete their degrees, all of which help the student-athletes out later in life.