NCAA reports academic excellence at Nicholls

THIBODAUX – For the third consecutive year, all of Nicholls State University’s 14 sports programs have performed above academic standard, according to information released this week by the National Collegiate Athletic Association on the academic progress rates (APR) of all NCAA Division I teams.

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

Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year based on the eligibility and retention of each scholarship-holding student athlete. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face sanctions, such as scholarship losses and restrictions on practice. Rates are based on the past four years’ performance. The Division I Board of Directors last fall approved tougher academic standards, including setting a new standard that teams must meet to compete in the postseason. The standard for postseason access starts at 900 APR but over the next few years climbs to 930, which equates to a 50-percent Graduation Success Rate.

In 2010-11, Nicholls had three teams with perfect scores of 1,000: men’s golf, men’s tennis and women’s cross country. Moreover, all 14 Nicholls athletics teams scored above 930, with 11 scoring above 950.

For multi-year rates, 13 of 14 Nicholls teams scored above 930, with nine at 950 or above. This rate exceeds the 2009-10 record, when only seven teams scored 950 or above.

“I commend our student athletes as well as our faculty, staff and coaches for their commitment to academic excellence,” Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president, said. “Our APR rates are the result of a great deal of hard work and dedication, and I am quite proud.”

Actions taken by the Nicholls administration to ensure academic progress toward degree completion include the establishment of an APR Committee; placing athletic academic advising under the Division of Academic Affairs; hiring additional athletic academic advisors; increasing the recognition of student athlete academic achievement; and consistent monitoring of student athlete academic progress by the director of athletic academic services, the assistant athletics director for compliance and the coaching staffs.