NCAA academic report: some college teams may be hit hard

  • Associated Press
  • Tuesday, May 6, 2008 10:57am
  • Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — College teams that consistently underperform in the classroom are getting hit harder by the NCAA.

Nearly 150 college teams face possible scholarship losses next season and 26 others are in danger of being banned from postseason play if they don’t improve next year.

The NCAA’s annual academic progress report was released Tuesday. It showed more than 700 teams fell short of mandated scores.

But just 218 were penalized with warning letters, potential reductions in scholarships and practice time and warned they face possible postseason bans.

Others were granted waivers by the governing body.

Thirty-six teams were assessed two penalties and three schools had more than one team make the list twice — Alabama-Birmingham in men’s basketball, football and men’s golf; San Diego State in baseball and football; and San Jose State in baseball and men’s basketball.

When a team does not improve, the punishments can become harsher with three consecutive scores under 900 leading to a postseason ban. A fourth consecutive offense would prevent them from competing at the NCAA Division I level.

Schools already facing a possible postseason ban include football teams at San Jose State, Southern and Temple, and men’s basketball teams at New Mexico, Centenary and East Carolina.

Money is becoming a more notable factor in academic success or failure.

According to the report, 180 teams cited low resources as the reason for their poor scores, while 253 teams said they were hurt by the departures of academically ineligible players. Teams can cite more than one explanation for scores when filing the report with the NCAA.

This year’s result also show the largest Division I schools, those in the Bowl Championship Series conferences, performed relatively well.

Eighteen BCS teams were penalized, eight in men’s and women’s basketball and two in football. Of those, only four teams — Kansas State, Purdue, Southern California and Tennessee — made the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and all four could lose up to two scholarships next season if a player leaves school while academically ineligible.

Also making the list were traditional powers like the LSU baseball team and Tennessee men’s swimming team.

Tennessee and West Virginia, which each had three teams on the list, were the only BCS schools with more than one team penalized. Each school had three teams make it — West Virginia in men’s soccer, wrestling and women’s rowing and Tennessee in men’s basketball, men’s swimming and baseball.

Women continue to outperform men, with a four-year average of 969 compared to 951.

Historically black colleges and universities, which last year had a disparate percentage of the low scores, fell more in line with the national averages this year. Eleven teams, 4.3 percent of the overall total, at eight historically black schools were penalized. The national average was 4.0 percent.

The most recent report includes scores from the 2003-07 academic years. An athlete earns one point for remaining academically eligible each semester and another point each semester they remain at the school, accumulating a maximum of four points each year. The scoring is altered slightly for schools on a quarters-based calendar.

Over the past four years, the scores improved slightly in 26 of the 29 sports measured by the NCAA, with decreases shown only in men’s ice hockey, men’s swimming and water polo.

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