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MCGILL: Marshall Continues Success With APR Scores

May 10, 2017

By Chuck McGill

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University had eight athletic programs earn a perfect single-year (2015-16) APR (Academic Progress Rates) score, the NCAA announced Wednesday afternoon. Also, eight programs improved their multi-year APR score from last year, four of which set a program record for best APR since it became a metric for Division I academic performance in 2003.

The Thundering Herd programs with a perfect single-year APR of 1,000 were men’s cross country, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, women’s soccer, swimming and diving, track and field and volleyball. Men’s cross country, swimming and diving and volleyball recorded a perfect 1,000 APR for the second consecutive year, and Marshall doubled the number of programs with a perfect APR – from four to eight – from the 2014-15 year to 2015-16.

Eight programs – men’s cross country, football, men’s golf, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s soccer, swimming and diving, and track and field – have a multi-year APR average higher than the national average. The multi-year scores cover the academic years 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The multi-year APR scores for women’s basketball (986), swimming and diving (1,000) and volleyball (984) are the highest ever for those programs at Marshall, respectively. The women’s cross country team repeated its multiyear score of 995, a record-tying performance for the program.

“I am blown away and proud of the success our student-athletes in the classroom,” Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick said. “These results confirm that our student-athletes are benefiting from the addition of the state-of-the-art Buck Harless Student-Athlete Academic Center. Their performance, academically, is unprecedented since the inception of APR.”

The APR announcement comes on the heels of Marshall having 64 academic medal winners in Conference USA, which was second most in the league (MU athletics is tops in the league in that category the past two academic years combined). Marshall also finished with 211 student-athletes on the Commissioner’s Honor Roll, also good for second place in C-USA.

Marshall’s swimming and diving program was honored by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America for its team grade point average of 3.65, which ranked in the top five nationally.

According to the APR, Marshall had four athletic programs finish in the top five within their sport in Conference USA: football, women’s basketball, women’s cross country and women’s soccer.

Overall, Marshall’s athletic programs have a collective 980 APR, which matches last year’s performance. That is sustained success.

“The credit goes to the student-athletes who are putting in the work, the coaches and assistants who underscore the importance of academics here, and the staff at ‘The Buck’ who go to great lengths to make certain our student-athletes excel,” Hamrick said. “This is what we envisioned when we built the Chris Cline Indoor Complex and the attached academic center. We made it loud and clear we wanted to emphasize academics here, and our student-athletes have listened and elevated their performance accordingly.”

On a sport-by-sport basis, the football program’s multi-year score of 968 is above the national average of 966. Men’s golf is at 985, above the 984 national average. Women’s basketball is at a program-high 986, which is well above the national average of 980. The men’s cross country, with a perfect score, is 21 points above the national average of 979 and 8 points better than its performance in 2014-15. The women’s cross country program had a score of 995 for the second consecutive year, which is well above the national average of 988. Women’s soccer, which is second among C-USA teams in that sport, had a score of 997, 11 points above the national average of 986. The swimming and diving program set a new program record with a perfect score, which is obviously above the national average, which is 991. The track and field team increased its score again, from 994 to 995, and now sits 13 points above the national average.

The NCAA Division I academic progress rates system was implemented in 2003 as part of “an ambitious academic reform effort,” according to the NCAA’s website. The APR holds institutions accountable for academic progress of student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that its initiative has resulted in 12 consecutive years of improved academic performance based on the four-year academic progress rates. The overall score of 981 is at an all-time high, and an improved of 2 points from the announced rate from the 2014-15 academic year.

Three-point improvements from baseball (970 to 973) and football (959 to 962) helped the NCAA achieve its record score. Overall, eight of Marshall’s programs performed above the national average, including Doc Holliday’s football program.

“I am so pleased that the Academic Progress Rates continue to rise, but I am more excited about what those numbers mean: Thousands of college athletes continue to make real progress toward earning their degrees,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “A college degree, combined with the skills they learn while participating in sports, will provide countless opportunities for them later in life.”