Monday, February 28, 2005
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 26, 2005) - The NCAA released its first score report as part of its new Academic Performance Program on Monday, and East Tennessee State University's athletic program made the grade.
The APP, which analyzes an athletic department's ability to retain student-athletes and keep them academically eligible, is part of the NCAA's efforts to improve academic success throughout its 300-plus institutions. The APP uses a scoring system that demands a program score 925 or better on a 1000-point scale. Every ETSU team scored above the 925-mark, leading all public universities in the Southern Conference and ranking fifth among all 12 SoCon teams with an average score of 968.
"We are extremely pleased with what this report says about our program," said ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins. "At ETSU, we are dedicated to winning the right way, and making academics a priority comes first and foremost. The APP report shows that we have been successful in this area. Our student-athletes are making the grades to be successful in class, and they are enjoying their experience here - which means they are staying in our program and graduating."
In particular, ETSU programs such as men's basketball, men's tennis, men's outdoor track and women's outdoor track posted impressive scores. Both men's tennis and outdoor track had perfect 1000-point scores, while men's basketball and women's outdoor track scored 981. The men's basketball score was highly impressive, due to the fact that the national average for all NCAA programs was 923 - actually below the mandated level.
The NCAA will be using this scoring system in the future to determine academic performance at all its institutions. In fact, teams can suffer penalties in scholarship funding, recruiting contacts, competition eligibility (for conference tournaments, etc.), and an eventual loss of their NCAA Division I status, if they are not meeting the required 925 mark.
"Teams that did not meet the 925 APP score in this initial report could face penalties as soon as this fall semester, if they also have a student-athlete that is not retained and not academically eligible," said ETSU Assistant Athletics Director for NCAA Compliance Joe Whitehead. "And more importantly, this data will be calculated and retained each year, with the goal being to assess a program's academic progress over a four-year period. If those programs don't show improvement, then the more severe penalties like a loss of post-season play and loss of Division I status could be incurred."
For more detailed information on the NCAA Academic Performance Program, contact Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations Michael White to set up interviews with Whitehead or Mullins.
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