Cullowhee, N.C. – For a second consecutive year, the Western Carolina men’s golf team was one of 22 Southern Conference programs in 13 different sports representing nine conference members to earn the annual APR Public Recognition Award from the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) this week.

The award is given to athletic teams ranking in the top 10 percent of Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores within all Division I in their respective sports. The most recent APR score is based on the scores from the 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 academic years or cohorts.

The public recognition awards are part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and are intended to highlight teams that demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports.

Under the direction of fourth -year head coach Tim Eckberg, Western Carolina men’s golf was one of two programs in the SoCon honored, joined by Mercer in receiving the public recognition. UNCG and Chattanooga led the way in the conference with four programs in total recognized, while Furman, Mercer and Samford had three apiece. ETSU had two and The Citadel, Wofford and WCU had one each.

From the official NCAA release, the APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams. Directly correlating with the increase of teams earning perfect scores this year, teams earning Public Recognition Awards increased to 1,328, up by 44 from the previous academic year with 321 schools honored for academic excellence. Of the teams recognized, 471 competed in men’s or mixed sports, and 857 competed in women’s sports.

APRs for programs in the top 10 percent ranged from 987 to a perfect 1,000, and the number of teams posting perfect scores increased to 1,214, marking an increase of 26 teams from last year.

APR scores for all Division I teams will be released May 8. The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or academic term and provides a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in every sport. All teams must meet an academic threshold of 930 to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance.