NCAA report positive for most Nicholls programs

THIBODAUX – With nine of Nicholls State University’s 15 sports programs performing above standard, student athletes are largely excelling in the classroom, according to information released this week by the National Collegiate Athletic Association on the academic progress rates of nearly 6,300 Division I teams.

The APR is part of an academic reform package established by the NCAA several years ago – the goal of which is to improve classroom performance and to graduate student athletes by concentrating on athlete retention and eligibility.

Each academic year, all Division I sports teams calculate their APRs based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship-holding student athlete. An APR of 925 translates to an NCAA graduation success rate of approximately 60 percent. Teams that score below 925 can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships.

Penalties become more severe each year a team fails to achieve NCAA-established benchmarks.

Six Nicholls programs were penalized this year: baseball, football, men’s golf, women’s track (indoor and outdoor) and women’s basketball.

The APR is a four-year rolling average, and the new report reflects the 2004-2005 academic year – during which time Nicholls experienced several coaching changes that resulted in a significant number of student-athletes not returning to campus. Since the 2004-2005 academic year, the retention rate of student-athletes has improved, and the Nicholls administration expects future APRs to show increases in all sports, including those identified in this year’s report.

“We will continue to monitor the APR closely, especially with regard to the university’s major sports,” said Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president. “Despite the new penalties, it is clear that our student-athletes are earning their degrees in 10 semesters or less, as required by the NCAA.”

Additional actions taken by the Nicholls administration to ensure academic progress toward degree completion include placing athletic academic advising under the Division of Academic Affairs; hiring additional athletic academic advisors; and increasing the recognition of student-athlete achievement in academics.

Consistent monitoring of student athlete academic progress by the director of athletic academic services, the associate athletics director for compliance and the coaching staffs already indicates an improvement in the university’s overall APR.

For additional information, call Bobby Galinsky, associate director of athletics, at (985) 448-4812 or (985) 381-9977.

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