BATON ROUGE -- Southern University baseball’s pathway to success on the field in 2019 began with unprecedented success in the classroom as the program registered a perfect single-year Academic Progress Rate score during the 2017-2018 academic year, athletics officials announced Wednesday.


Baseball joins Women’s Tennis as Southern University's top academic programs, recording a perfect 1000 score according to the recent NCAA APR report released. For the second time in the last five years, all 15 Southern athletic programs meet or exceeded the mandated 930 APR benchmark.  

Wednesday’s APR report also marks the second straight year Southern athletic programs will avoid any postseason ban as a result of low academic scores.

“To earn this honor consecutive years demonstrates how hard our students and staff work on a daily basis to continue a culture of academic excellence within our program,” said Director of Athletics, Roman Banks. 

“Our coaches and academic staff do a fantastic job of preparing our student-athletes for life and placing an increased emphasis on the importance of academics.  That emphasis is evident in this year’s report which highlights consistent year to year academic progress.”

The Southern University Baseball improved their single year score by 41 points from a 959 in 2016-2017. Women’s Tennis earned a perfect APR score for the third consecutive year and can receive the NCAA's highest praise with a multi-year score of 1000 if they post a perfect score from the 2018-2019 cohort.

"The correlation between excellence academically and team success athletically cannot be understated and it's evident in our core philosophy within the Southern University baseball program," said second-year head baseball coach Kerrick Jackson. "Our commitment to restoring Jaguar Pride  in the classroom, on the field and in the community remains our top priority and today's report aids in that process."

Football (988) posted the highest score in program history, while Volleyball (978), Women’s Soccer (974), Women’s Bowling (972), and Women’s Cross Country (952) all posted scores of 950 or higher.

“It’s a great time to be a Jaguar!,” said Head Football Coach, Dawson Odums.  “Dr. Scott and his staff continue to do an amazing job.  You have to continue to move forward, but learning from your past makes that transition much easier.  I am excited for the young men who have continued to display excellence in the classroom.

Other programs that posted at or above the 930 benchmark includes; Men’s Cross Country (949), Women’s Basketball (947),  Men’s Track & Field (942), Softball (943), Women’s Track & Field (940), and Men’s Basketball (935).

Southern University was also awarded five delayed graduation points for the 2017-2018 academic cycle.  Delayed graduation points are points earned for a student-athlete who has lost a point at any time during their matriculation or who did not graduate within the 10-semester requirement.  

“We are extremely proud of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff for creating a culture of both high academic expectations and academic excellence,” said Deputy Athletic Director, Dr. Trayvean Scott.  “To continue to meet our academic standards is no easy task. Between traveling and preparing for competition, our student-athletes have to diligently manage their schedules and stay on top of their course load. I’m incredibly proud that they continue to do so and understand that there is life beyond sport. They’ve worked incredibly hard to prepare for the rest of their lives, and I want to thank our student-services staff for all the time and effort they spend in challenging our student-athletes in the classroom.”

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. Since 2015-2016, 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.

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