Athlete's Perspective: The APR score and its consequences
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 23:09
The UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team will experience their own form of March Madness this spring when they are forced to watch all NCAA postseason play from the couch. But what exactly does this punishment prove?
First, it is important to understand the system and the sanctions.
The Academic Progress Rates score, known simply as APR, is a system employed by the NCAA to monitor and calculate the academic progress that is made by all athletic teams at all NCAA member schools.
The system is broken down by yearly scores, with 1000 being a perfect score for any individual year. The NCAA collects and stores this data, and subsequently evaluates programs based on their average score over a four-year period. In order to pass, and thus be void of any sanctions, programs must post an average of 900 or better.
In the NCAA’s most recent evaluative period, spanning from the 2007-2008 school year through 2010-2011, the Seahawks men’s basketball team fell short with an average score of 890. After a brief appeal to the NCAA was denied, UNCW was slammed with a one-year postseason ban among other smaller sanctions.
But what has the NCAA accomplished with this punishment?
Of the 16 players currently on UNCW’s roster, only four were also members of the 2010-2011 team. Head Coach Buzz Peterson didn’t take over the reigns until the 10-11 season, and has given the program an all around facelift in just two seasons, yet he and this year’s team are left to answer for the academic shortcomings of players that are long gone.
Where is the justice?
A season that once held so much promise to finally get UNCW basketball back on the national map has been dashed due to a lag in the APR system. Who has learned their lesson? The freshmen that stepped onto campus hoping to soon raise a banner above Trask Coliseum must put those dreams on hold, while many of the student-athletes that caused the issue in the first place have transferred or quit, and are watching this unfold penalty free.
Stop me when you see the silver lining.
UNCW was not the only basketball program to suffer this consequence over the offseason. Nine other schools across the nation also suffered the same fate, including fellow CAA member Towson and national powerhouse Connecticut.
But for a school like UNCW, it hurts the most.
As a program that has been known to make runs through the conference tournament and earn appearances, at-large or automatic, in the NCAA tournament, the program has gone somewhat dormant over the past few years. Finally, though, Buzz Peterson has dropped from the skies to right the ship. He’s now got his recruits into the program. He’s gotten his players to buy into his system. He’s got a leader in forward Keith Rendleman who undoubtedly wanted to leave a mark during his senior season.
And it has all gone for naught.
While the protesting is done and the penalties have been finalized, and UNCW will take its licks and move on, let it be known that the issue at hand stems from flaws within the APR’s system and not that of UNCW athletics.