For the seventh consecutive year, Rice University’s intercollegiate athletic teams have earned the NCAA’s Division I Academic Performance Program public recognition awards, which were announced June 14. Six Rice sports were honored: football, men’s golf, women’s cross country, women’s basketball, women’s swimming and women’s tennis.
Each year the NCAA honors select Division I sports teams by publicly recognizing their latest multiyear NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR). This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight teams that demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports. Specifically, these teams posted multiyear APRs in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport.
The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team’s academic performance.
The six sports that were honored for their efforts in the classroom represent 37.5 percent of the Owls’ 16 sports. Only four schools competing in the NCAA’s Bowl Subdivision have had a higher percentage of their programs honored by the NCAA. The Owls finished 31st among all schools that field at least one team at the Division I level; Rice’s total of six honored teams led all Division I programs in Texas as well as Conference USA.
“Once again, our scholar-athletes have provided indisputable evidence that dedication to athletic and academic excellence are not conflicting missions,” Rice Athletics Director Rick Greenspan said. “They unflinchingly embrace the challenge the minute they step on this campus and willingly accept the task of continuing the legacy that previous generations of Rice athletes have created.”
Of the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision programs with at least 30 percent of their teams honored by the NCAA, Rice was one of four to have its football program as one of the honorees; the others were Duke, Vanderbilt and Northwestern universities.
The APR was introduced in 2005 as a more real-time assessment of teams’ academic performance than the prior six-year graduation-rate calculation provided. The APR awards two points per semester to student-athletes who meet academic eligibility standards and remain enrolled at an institution. A team’s APR is the total points earned by the team at a given time divided by the total points possible. Teams that finished in the top 10 percent of the rankings for their respective sport receive public recognition awards.