May 6, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - For the fourth consecutive year, all 17 Northern Illinois sports programs have exceeded the academic standards set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as measured by the Academic Progress Rate (APR), according to the 2009 APR report released today by the organization.
The Academic Progress Rate, which has become the primary tool used by the NCAA to judge academic progress, measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. It also serves as a predictor of graduation success.
"This year's APR report is an important indicator of the academic success of our student-athletes, and demonstrates the dedication and commitment that Northern Illinois University has to helping our young people achieve their goals," said NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. "Our APR numbers, along with our Graduation Success Rate and the seven straight 3.0 semesters posted by our student-athletes shows that at NIU, academic success is and will continue to be a top priority."
The 2009 information considers data for the 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 academic years in establishing a multi-year rate for each program. Teams are awarded two points each term for each student-athlete who meets academic eligibility standards and who remains with the institution. A team's APR is the total points earned by the team at a given time, divided by the total points possible and multiplied by 1,000. The NCAA Division I Board of Directors set cut scores of 925 as a threshold for teams to meet or face possible sanctions, which include loss of scholarships and loss of practice time.
Northern Illinois teams scored above the 925 mark across the board, with 15 teams surpassing a 945 number. Last month, the NIU women's gymnastics (1000 APR) and volleyball (995) teams were publicly recognized as squads which rank in the top 10 percent of all teams in their sport this year. In addition, the Huskie women's basketball (980) and women's golf (994) squads ranked in the top 20 percent, while men's golf (989) and men's tennis (982) posted a number in the top 30 percent of all teams in those sports. Northern Illinois football's mark of 947 puts it in the top 40 percent of all Division I programs.
Eleven NIU teams saw their academic progress rates increase from a year ago, with seven of those teams reporting an increase of 10 points or more. Women's volleyball (+21), men's golf (+20), football (+17), men's tennis (+17) and baseball (+16) made the most dramatic improvements from a year ago.
"Congratulations to all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, especially our Student-Athlete Academic Support Services unit, led by [Senior Associate Athletic Director] Francine St. Clair," Compher said. "Reports like these are the result of a true team effort that includes not just NIU Athletics, but the entire university."
The APR was developed by the NCAA to measure the academic performance of individual teams on a real-time basis by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. Not only does academic reform ensure accountability for student-athletes, teams and institutions, but it provides fairness by considering individual circumstances per team and school.
The NCAA released the complete APR reports for each school Wednesday, as well as the list of teams subject to penalties. That information is available on line at www.ncaa.org.
-- NIU --
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