BATON ROUGE — Southern University Athletics continues its historic academic turnaround as evidenced by the latest NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Report announced earlier today.
For the first time in history, all SU athletic teams are eligible for NCAA postseason play in 2018-19 after a comprehensive effort spearheaded by the Athletics Office of Compliance and Student Services.
"I am extremely proud of our students' achievements and our athletics staff that ensures 'student' comes first in 'student-athlete'," said Ray L. Belton, Southern University System president-chancellor. "We look forward to continued success in their academic and athletic endeavors."
The SU Men’s Cross Country and Women’s bowling teams both earned perfect scores of 1,000, with Women’s Tennis posting a perfect APR score of 1,000 for the second consecutive year. While Baseball (959), Women’s Cross Country (974), Women’s Soccer (974), Women’s Track and Field (966), Women’s Basketball (955), and Volleyball (955) all posted scores of 950 or higher.
Other programs that posted at or above the 930 benchmark include Men’s Track and Field (940), Football (938), Softball (935), and Men’s Basketball (932).
Southern University Director of Athletics Roman Banks, who served as the head men's basketball coach prior to being named athletic director, echoed Belton’s sentiments.
“It is definitely an exciting time,” Banks said. “This is the first time since I have been here that all of our teams have met the APR benchmark. Like any athletic success story, the ongoing positive APR reports are the result of a team effort, starting with our student services staff and the coaches who recruit quality student-athletes and emphasize that academics will be a priority at Southern University.”
Southern University Athletics was also awarded 10 delayed graduation points for the 2016-2017 academic cycle. Delayed graduation points are points earned for a student-athlete who has lost a point at any time during their matriculation or did not graduate in 10 semesters.
"It is a credit to our student-athletes that the annual NCAA Academic Progress Rates continue to reflect a high level of commitment to academic achievement," said Trayvean Scott, Southern’s executive athletic director. “Our administration, academic and compliance staffs, coaches, and faculty members across campus, and our student-athletes all deserve to share in what has become a historic turnaround. Moving forward, our goal is for Southern University Athletics to continue to be a leader on the national academic stage.”
The APR holds institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term. Currently, teams must earn a 930 four-year average APR or a 940 average over the most recent two years to participate in NCAA championships. In 2015-16 and beyond, teams must earn a four-year APR of 930 to compete in championships.
While the APR is intended as an incentive-based approach, it does come with a progression of penalties for teams which underperform academically over time such as a reduction in practice and competition hours, increased academic activities and postseason bans.