May 15, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Highlighted by a national recognition for its men's basketball squad for a second-straight year, 15 of Western Carolina's 16 intercollegiate sports achieved a single-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores above the minimum threshold of 930 according to the most recent data provided by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released this week. WCU had 10 athletic teams hold even or improve upon their multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR).
Four programs - baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball and men's golf - earned APR scores of 1,000 for the 2012-13 academic year. Women's tennis missed the threshold for single-season APR by one point at 929, while reporting a multi-year APR of 944.
The Academic Progress Rate provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.
Single-year APR covers the 2012-13 academic year only and is calculated by dividing the number of points earned by student-athletes by the number of points possible and then multiplying by 1000 for a team's single-season APR. The multi-year number is an average of the APR scores of each sport from the past four academic years. This year's multi-year cohort is 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
The Catamount men's basketball team carried a 1,000 multi-year APR for the cohort which dates from 2009 through 2013, earning the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition Award for an APR in the top 10 percent against all other basketball teams in the NCAA Division I. The men's basketball team is the only team from WCU to earn the NCAA's public recognition honor, doing so in back-to-back years. WCU is one of three men's basketball programs from the Southern Conference to earn the honors along with Davidson and Elon with all three programs honored in consecutive years.
"This type of recognition is very flattering for our program," said WCU head men's basketball coach, Larry Hunter. "Academic success is not only the mission of our basketball program, but that of our entire athletics department and university; to recruit quality student-athletes who are serious about obtaining their degrees and then providing them the necessary support and motivation to help them achieve their goals."
A combined 40 men's basketball teams from across the country were honored including four from the state of North Carolina. Duke joined WCU, Davidson and Elon on the list - WCU was the only public institution in the state of North Carolina to earn this distinction.
Each year, the NCAA honors selected Division I sports teams by publicly recognizing their latest multiyear NCAA Division I APR. This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is 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. Specifically, these teams posted multiyear APRs in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport.
All told, the Southern Conference had a total of 39 programs representing nine conference members earn the 2014 Public Recognition Award from the NCAA back on May 7. Twenty SoCon men's programs and 19 women's programs from eight different spots earned the award. In 2011-12, 40 SoCon programs were honored - 20 men's and 20 women's teams. Across the NCAA a total of 1,018 teams were given public recognition for being in the top ten percent of their respective sport.
Western Carolina's athletic teams showing improvement in the multi-year APR included baseball (981 from 973); men's basketball (1000 from 990); men's cross country (981 from 974); football (954 from 948); men's indoor track & field (964 from 960); men's outdoor track & field (968 from 964); women's basketball (976 from 974); women's indoor track & field (979 from 970); and women's outdoor track & field (979 from 970). The volleyball team remained at 968 in multi-year APR when comparing 2011-12 to 2012-13 data.