BERKELEY – The latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores released by the NCAA Wednesday show that University of California, Berkeley student-athletes continue to achieve in the classroom, with several programs showing improvement and others maintaining their high level of performance.
Having earned four-year APR scores of 1,000 – the highest possible – the Golden Bear men’s and women’s tennis and women’s gymnastics teams were honored with Public Recognition Awards by the NCAA last week, which brings Cal’s total to 20 over the last six years. Men’s tennis has received the national notice six years in a row, while women’s tennis has for the last five and women’s gymnastics the past four.
A total of 10 different teams posted one-year APR scores of 1,000 for the 2013-14 academic year – baseball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, men’s gymnastics, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, women’s swimming & diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and men’s water polo. That total is up from eight in 2012-13 and five in 2011-12.
Overall, every Golden Bear program has surpassed NCAA requirements for four-year APR scores, with 25 of 27 measured teams above 945 for the second year in a row. A total of 16 programs are at or above 975, and eight posted scores of at least 985. Results are not tabulated for men’s crew and rugby, which are not NCAA sports, or sand volleyball. Teams must produce a multi-year score of 930 or higher or risk losing eligibility to compete in NCAA postseason championships.
“The effort and work that our student-athletes produce in the classroom inspires us every day,” Director of Athletics Mike Williams said. “These APR scores show that the vast majority of our teams and student-athletes continue to perform at a high level in their academic pursuits. In the areas where we have fallen short in recent years, we are seeing upward trajectories. Yet regardless of past results, we have an obligation to keep pushing for excellence across the board, which is a responsibility that extends to each of us in Cal Athletics, the Athletic Study Center and the entire campus community.”
Every year, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every officially sanctioned NCAA Division I team through the annual scorecard of academic achievement, known as APR. The rate accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance. Created in 2003 by the NCAA to provide an annual “real-time” sport-by-sport snapshot of the academic performance of student-athletes, APR reporting also includes a four-year average in addition to the most recent one-year average. The four-year APR results reported Wednesday include the 2010-11 through 2013-14 academic years, while the one-year APR result reported accounts for 2013-14.
Cal’s football team saw its four-year APR climb three points to 941, rising for a second straight year after a period of less-than-satisfactory results. The squad’s one-year rate dipped from 969 in 2012-13 to 946 in 2013-14, which can be attributed in part to several student-athletes leaving the program early to turn professional following the 2013 season.
“Although we are observing significant progress with our football team’s APR scores, it doesn’t always manifest itself in a smooth line from year to year,” Williams said. “We’ve already seen improvement and are clearly on an upward trajectory. We expect that the four-year average will jump considerably in the spring of 2016 when the next round of APR scores are announced, given our anticipated results from this academic year and the fact the program will be dropping a 923 one-year average from 2010-11.”
Among other teams, the men’s basketball program saw a 15-point jump in its four-year APR from 939 to 954. Baseball, up 14 points to 988, and men’s gymnastics, up 22 points to 983, also realized substantial increases in their four-year APRs.
“We believe we are putting the right support systems in place to work with our student-athletes across the board to ensure their success in the classroom,” Williams said. “Working with campus leadership, we are in the midst of implementing the recommendations of our Chancellor’s Task Force on Academics and Athletics with a particular focus on campus climate and culture. The incremental improvement we are seeing in APR scores is in line with what we expect, and the results validate the steps we are taking.”