BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Student athletes at Southern University are proud to report marked improvements in the classroom as shown by the latest NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) report, announced Wednesday.
Two programs at Southern achieved perfect scores of 1,000 on the 2015-16 APR report, while the men's basketball team produced its highest APR score ever, as listed in the report on NCAA.org.
Consequently, ten athletic teams at SU are eligible for NCAA postseason competition in 2017-18 after an successful effort led by the school's Office of Athletic Compliance and Student Services. Southern's volleyball and tennis teams posted a perfect single year APR score in 2015-16, while men's basketball, women's softball, tennis, and volleyball either tied of posted their highest scores in program history.
Other athletic programs that scored at or above the 930 benchmark include:
- Football - 930
- Women's basketball - 966
- Women's bowling - 955
- Women's soccer - 938
- Women's indoor and outdoor track & field - 934
"To say we are elated and encouraged by the recent APR report is certainly an understatement. In a relatively short period, the Department of Athletics with broad campus-wide support and determination, has significantly improved academic outcomes and opportunities for student athletes," said SU System President-Chancellor Dr. Ray L. Belton. "We commend Athletics Director Roman Banks and everyone who worked hard to regain the academic integrity and vitality of Southern Jaguar Athletics."
SU Athletics was also awarded 12 delayed graduation points for the 2015-16 academic year. Delayed graduation points are earned for a student athlete who has lost a point at any time during their time in school or did not graduate in ten semesters.
"Words cannot express how I feel about where we are headed academically," said Director of Athletics Roman Banks. "Having a solid APR report is the equivalent of winning a championship as we have had several programs sacrifice their success athletically in order to improve academically. Our Board of Supervisors, along with President-Chancellor Dr. Ray Belton, made improving our APR scores a priority and the Office of Compliance and Student Services has worked tirelessly to ensure their vision of where Southern Athletics needs to be academically is met."
"We are extremely proud of the historic academic resurgence this athletic department has undergone over the course of the last two years," said Associate Athletic Director of Compliance and Student Athlete Services, Trayvean Scott. "This department, along with the institution, has made APR improvement its highest priority. And through this broad-based commitment, we have created a standard by which to measure ourselves moving forward. Though today's announcement provides solace to our past challenges, we look forward to many subsequent years of continuous academic improvement in an effort to distinguish Southern University Athletics as a premier athletics department for academic achievement."
The APR holds universities accountable for the academic progress of their student athletes through a team-based metric that takes into account the eligibility and retention of each athlete for each academic term. As it stands, teams must achieve a 930 four-year average APR or a 940 average over the most recent two years to be able to participate in NCAA championship competitions.
Although the APR is intended to be an incentive-based approach, it comes with a certain set of penalties for team that under perform academically over time, such as a reduction in practice and competition hours, increased academic activities, and postseason bans.