May 032007
 
Authors: Jeff Dillon

Due to borderline NCAA Academic Progress Rates, both CSU men’s and women’s basketball programs could be in danger of losing scholarships next year.

The NCAA released its third-annual APR report Wednesday, which analyzes the academic success of all Division-I athletic programs in the country by taking into account eligibility, retention and graduation rates.

Players who leave a program before graduating can also negatively affect a team’s APR, something that both CSU’s men’s and women’s programs have experienced in recent years.

According to the report, which draws data from the past three seasons, CSU men’s basketball has a three-year average APR of 892, which is below the NCAA minimum of 925.

But the program is not subject to any penalties at this time due to the NCAA’s squad-size adjustment, which gives teams with smaller numbers the benefit of the doubt on APR standards.

According to Christine Susemihl, NCAA compliance coordinator for CSU athletics, when the squad-size adjustment is implemented the men’s score increases to a passable 933.

Next season the squad-size adjustment will no longer be in effect, so Susemihl said a “bad” next year academically could result in the loss of scholarships for the men’s team.

“There are no penalties for us right now,” Susemihl said. “The worst-case scenario for the men’s team is losing two scholarships next year, but they aren’t losing any now.”

The women’s program was given a passing score of 956, but after losing nine players in the past two years for various reasons, could be in danger of losing a scholarship for the 2008-09 season.

But Susemihl said the only way either program would lose scholarships is if, in addition to a below-standard APR score, a student-athlete leaves the program academically ineligible before this fall. If that happens, the NCAA would not allow the team to use that athlete’s scholarship on a replacement.

“We won’t know this for sure until after summer school, but so far we haven’t had any kids leave ineligible,” she said.

Susemihl said the athletics department knew the scores would be low when the information was submitted in the fall, so the news did not come as a surprise.

She said the program remains concerned about making sure its athletes’ academic progress is a top priority.

“If you see a red flag go up like this you need to look internally at some things,” Susemihl said. “Do we have enough academic assistance? Are we recruiting the right kids? Are the right pieces in place? Of course we’re concerned.”

The men’s score of 892 places the team in the 10th to 20th percentile within all Division-I men’s basketball programs. The women are in the 30th to 40th percentile.

All other CSU sports received passing APR scores, including football (944), volleyball (974) and water polo, whose score of 988 was the best among all CSU teams.

Sports staff writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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