June 7, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina's men's basketball team received the 2013 Public Recognition Award for the 2011-12 academic year from the National Collegiate Athletic Association based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Report (APR). The NCAA released its public recognition awards on June 5 for the teams ranking in the top 10 percent of APR within Division I in their respective sport.
The Catamount men's basketball team represented the only public institution from the SoCon to garner the honor within that sport selection.
"This is a tremendous achievement by our men's basketball program and Head Coach Larry Hunter. It clearly displays Coach Hunter's commitment to the `student' in the term student-athlete," said WCU Director of Athletics, Randy Eaton. "Coach Hunter and members of our men's basketball team are to be commended for their work in the classroom. To be the only public institution in the Southern Conference to receive this award for men's basketball says volumes about the priorities of our head coaches, Athletic Department and the entire campus at Western Carolina University."
Across the Southern Conference, a total of 40 programs representing nine conference members earned the Public Recognition Award from the NCAA. Twenty SoCon men's programs earned the recognition, surpassing last year's total of 17 while 20 women's programs were also recognized. Nationally, more than 950 NCAA Division I sports teams were honored by the NCAA.
"This type of recognition is very flattering for our program," said 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."
Teams honored by the NCAA earned multiple Academic Progress Report (APR) scores in the top 10 percent for the past four years. The most recent APR scores are multi-year rates based on the scores from the 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years. 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. The public recognition awards are part of the overall Division I academic reform effort.
The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes eligibility, retention and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.