Razorbacks exceed APR benchmark in 18 sports

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas exceeds the benchmark Academic Progress Rate (APR) multi-year rate of 925 in 18 of its 19 sport programs, it was announced on Wednesday by the NCAA.

The APR is calculated based on academic eligibility and retention of student-athletes in each respective program. The scores released on Wednesday were a snapshot of the 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 academic years.

"Overall I am pleased with the progress we are making in our sport programs with APR," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "A vast majority of our programs made improvements on their multi-year rates and remain well above the benchmark score. Our student-athletes have proven once again that they can succeed in the classroom and in competition. We will continue to work with our student-athletes to improve their individual and team academic standing. Our administration, coaches and staff remain committed to the academic growth of more than 460 student-athletes."

The Razorbacks have 12 squads with a multi-year rate of 959 or above, including three programs whose score exceeds 990 (gymnastics, soccer and women’s golf).

Women’s golf was honored by the NCAA last month with its public recognition award. The award goes to squads in the top 10 percent of their respective sport. The Razorback women’s golf program scored a perfect multi-year rate of 1,000 and has not lost a point in five consecutive reporting segments.

"This team accomplishment is the result of the hard work of many student-athletes who have all committed themselves to academic achievement," Arkansas women’s golf head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said."Myfirst goal as a coach is to give our players everything they need to be successful in the classroom and everything they need on the golf course. Good grades, a good work ethic and obtaining a degree are the most important parts of my being on our team."

In all, 16 of the 19 Razorback sport programs maintained or improved their multi-year APR rate from the last reporting period. Baseball and men’s golf made the most substantial improvement after both programs were below the 925 cutline last year. Baseball improved its multi-year rate from 914 to 945 while men’s golf made a gain from 917 to 945 in the most recent reporting segment.

Other programs that made improvement this year were men’s cross country, men’s tennis, men’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s soccer, softball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s indoor track and field and women’s outdoor track and field. In addition, women’s golf and gymnastics maintained their high APR multi-year rate at 1,000 and 991, respectively.

Men’s basketball multi-year rate of 888 scored below the 925 benchmark score and received a public notice. Programs with a multi-year rate of below 925 are subject to contemporaneous penalties. Programs with a multi-year rate below 900 are subject to historical penalties. Arkansas’ public notice was part of the historical penalty phase.

"We have been closely monitoring our APR situation in our men’s basketball program and know that we still face some challenges ahead," Long said. "Certainly, we are disappointed that we have subjected ourselves to potential penalties. However, our athletic department administration and academic support staff continue to work closely with the coaching staff to help ensure that our student-athletes have every opportunity to meet their academic responsibility and succeed academically."

"As a basketball program, we are committed to the development of student-athletes academically and athletically," Arkansas head basketball coach John Pelphrey said. "Our current APR score is a reflection of many factors including a significant amount of transition in the time period evaluated. Just as we have taken steps to lay the groundwork for an even stronger team on the court, our coaches and academic support staff have worked with our student-athletes to help them enhance their academic progress. I am optimistic that our continued emphasis and proactive approach will result in an improved team APR rating."

For a complete listing of the University of Arkansas’ APR rankings for all 19 sports, click here.