SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- A record nine Cal Poly intercollegiate athletics teams posted perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rate scores during the 2016-17 academic year and eight squads registered improvements in their four-year rate scores.
Five others maintained their four-year rate scores of a year ago, according to data released by the NCAA on Wednesday.
Five teams — men's golf, men's swimming and diving, wrestling, women’s tennis and women's track and field — all have four-year rate scores within their sport ranked at or above the 70th percentile.
The nine teams with perfect 1,000 scores during the 2016-17 school year are men's golf, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s cross country, women’s golf, softball, women’s tennis, women’s track and field and women's volleyball.
The Mustang men's golf, women’s beach volleyball, women’s tennis and women’s track and field teams earned public recognition awards from the NCAA last week for achieving four-year rate scores above the 90th percentile. It was the fifth consecutive year for men's golf.
The four-year rate score of 1,000 for the Mustang women's tennis team is a 20-point improvement while football increased 11 points to 972. In addition, women's track and field jumped 10 points to 998.
Other Cal Poly teams showing improvement in their four-year rate scores are baseball, men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving, women’s golf and women’s indoor volleyball.
Five other teams recorded the same four-year rate as a year ago. They are men's golf, men’s tennis, wrestling, softball and women’s cross country.
The Mustang football team's APR of 992 for the 2016-17 academic year leads the Big Sky Conference for the second straight year. The football squad compiled a near-perfect 997 APR for the 2015-16 school year. In addition, the multi-year rate of 972 is 11 points higher than the national average for Football Championship Subdivision members.
Teams making the biggest jump in their single-year APR scores from the 2015-16 school year to 2016-17 are women’s golf (48 points from 952 to 1,000) and men’s soccer (42 points from 952 to 994).
Other teams making double-digit improvement in their single-year APR score are baseball (13 points from 972 to 985), men’s swimming and diving (19 points from 981 to 1,000), men’s tennis (28 points from 972 to 1,000), women’s cross country (24 points from 976 to 1,000), softball (15 points from 985 to 1,000), women’s tennis (30 points from 970 to 1,000) and women’s track and field (from 990 to 1,000).
Men’s golf and women’s volleyball maintained perfect 1,000 scores from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
Division I student-athletes continue to succeed in the classroom, confirmed by a two-point increase in the Academic Progress Rate nationwide. The overall four-year rate increased to 983.
Four-year rates for baseball, football and women’s basketball each increased two points to 975, 964 and 982, respectively. Men’s basketball players raised their overall four-year APR by a point to 967.
NCAA President Mark Emmert celebrated the impact the APR has made on the culture of Division I.
“We’ve seen a remarkable evolutionary shift in Division I over the last 14 years. Administrators, coaches and students all make academic achievement and graduation top focus areas,” Emmert said. “The APR is a powerful metric that leads ultimately to more graduates and more student-athletes with better opportunities after college.”
Every Division I sports team across the nation calculates its APR each academic year, similar to a report card. Scholarship student-athletes each semester earn one point for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or graduating. At schools that don't offer scholarships, recruited student-athletes are tracked.
Since the Division I membership created the Academic Performance Program 14 years ago, more than 16,000 former athletes earned APR points for their prior teams by returning to college after their eligibility ran out and earning a degree. Of those 16,000, more than half participated in football, baseball or basketball — the highest-profile sports in Division I. Those students generally do not count in graduation rates because they earn degrees outside the six-year window allowed by both the federal graduation rate and the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate.
Rates are an average of each school's performance for the past four years. National aggregates are based on all teams with usable data at the time of analysis.
Teams scoring below 930 can face consequences intended to direct additional focus on academics. Those penalties can include practice restrictions and playing-season reductions. The intention is to fill time that would have been spent on athletics with academic activities.
Nine teams in Division I will be ineligible for the postseason in 2018-19 due to their low APR scores, compared with 17 teams last year and 23 teams two years ago.