Southern sanctioned over APR scores; LSU football ranks lowest in SEC

SU posts lowest APR scores in several sports; LSU ranks lowest in SEC football - 6 p.m.
Tiger Stadium (Source: WAFB)
Tiger Stadium (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The NCAA's yearly analysis of academic eligibility and retention rates among student-athletes revealed some highs and lows for the two major universities in Baton Rouge.

Southern and LSU athletic programs are under-performing in the classroom, according to the latest report issued Wednesday by the NCAA.

On the Bluff, Southern University was hit with new sanctions for nine athletic programs including football, baseball and women's basketball.

Interim athletic Director Roman Banks said the sanctions are a result of an ongoing data ban with the NCAA and are not unexpected. The university also hired additional staff to help with compliance and academics.

"The athletic department's main objective remains to press forward through our current APR penalties as a result of the unusable data ban while maintaining a great working relationship with the NCAA to regain postseason eligibility and to successfully meet the academic standards set by the Academic Performance Program," said Banks in a statement.

Southern ranked dead last in all football teams in the NCAA with a score of 816. However, that was almost 100 points higher than last year's score of 717.

In Tigerland, the LSU athletic department trumpeted passing rates for all their programs. Men's and women's tennis, men's cross country and women's golf all received perfect APR scores.

However, LSU ranked dead last in football among 14 teams in the SEC with a score of 941. That score is the lowest among LSU athletics by far and is a six-point drop from last year's score of 947.

The program has not scored above 947 since the 2010-2011 academic year. Over the past four years, LSU football has earned an average of 945.

Southern football's four-year average is 729. Southern's lowest APR score in the past decade for football was 482 in 2012-2013.

The NCAA lists the national 4-year average for football at a 959.

The APR system is based on scholarship athletes' eligibility and retention for a pre-determined period of time.

The rates essentially reveal how many athletes are on track to get a degree. Teams are rated on a scale of 1,000 over a certain time period. A program gets two points for every scholarship student-athlete. Points are lost if a scholarship athlete becomes academically ineligible or if they drop out.

Teams that fall below the cutoff of 930 over a four-year period or 940 over a two-year period could face a variety of penalties including loss of scholarships or limited play time.

Although LSU has not yet reached the level of ineligibility, the nine Southern programs that were sanction have become ineligible for postseason play in 2016-17. Those nine teams face level three APR penalties along with women's soccer, while Southern women's bowling faces level two APR penalties.

Along with football, Southern posted the lowest APR scores in the NCAA for 11 or its 13 sports, including baseball (697), women's basketball (853) and softball (761) in 2014-2015.

According to the report, Southern men's basketball had the second lowest APR score with 802. SWAC rival Alcorn State has the lowest score in the NCAA for men's basketball with an APR score of 777.

The following is the full statement released by Southern from Interim Athletics Director Roman Banks regarding regarding the NCAA APR report:

Southern University athletics continues to implore broad-based strategies to address many of the academic performance challenges facing low-resource institutions. Despite ongoing efforts, which include the hiring of additional compliance and academic support personnel and establishing several corrective actions, nine SU athletic programs will be ineligible for the postseason in 2016-17.

Besides LSU football, LSU women's basketball also ranks lowest in the SEC with an APR score of 949. Two other LSU teams, baseball (958) and softball (984), rank second lowest in the SEC for those sports.

LSU athletics declined an interview to discuss the scores.

Vanderbilt had the highest APR score in the SEC for football with 990.

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