published Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Tennessee Vols have SEC's lowest football APR

TENNESSEE'S APR SCORES

Sport // 2010-11 // '09-10

Baseball // 943 // 938

Football // 931 // 937

Men's basketball // 962 // 949

Men's cross country // 936 // 936

Men's golf // 959 // 974

Men's swimming // 984 // 975

Men's tennis // 961 // 947

Men's indoor track // 943 // 932

Men's outdoor track // 944 // 933

Softball // 964 // 952

Volleyball // 989 // 984

Women's basketball // 1000 // 995

Women's cross country // 994 // 994

Women's golf // 1000 // 1000

Women's rowing // 998 // 990

Women's soccer // 962 // 953

Women's swimming // 982 // 977

Women's tennis // 1000 // 1000

Women's indoor track // 990 // 981

Women's outdoor track // 990 // 981

KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee football team nearly finished last in the Southeastern Conference on the field last fall.

The Volunteers' Academic Progress Rate number went that final step.

The NCAA released its annual report Wednesday afternoon, and the Vols' multi-year rate of 931 was worst in the SEC and just one point above the new minimum standard that goes into effect this upcoming academic year.

None of UT's 20 varsity sports fell below the current benchmark of 925. Teams that finish below that number are subject to penalties such reduced practice time, scholarship reductions and, in the most severe cases, postseason bans. The NCAA approved raising the number to 930 -- which predicts close to a 50 percent graduation rate -- last fall.

In its ninth year, the APR measures the eligibility and retention of scholarship student-athletes. One point is awarded if an athlete remains eligible throughout a regular academic term, and he or she earns another point by returning for the following term. The rate is cumulative from the past four academic years dating back to 2007.

Within that time frame, the Vols' football program has experienced unusually high attrition due to coaching changes in consecutive seasons. That likely had an effect on UT's APR numbers, though the score increased from 921 to 934 for the 2010-11 academic year. In addition to finishing 5-7, the Vols' collective grade point average plummeted to 2.08 last fall but bounced back to 2.71 for the spring semester.

UT's men's basketball program, which lost one scholarship per year in 2006-07 and 2007-08 for low APR scores, continued to raise its score. The Vols, whose GPA increased the past three semesters, jumped to 962, though that was still only good for ninth in the SEC.

The Vols' baseball team tied with Auburn with the SEC's lowest APR. UT lost more than two total scholarships over a three-year span from 2004-05 to 2006-07 for low APR scores.

Three UT women's teams -- basketball, golf and tennis -- received Public Recognition Awards last week from the NCAA. They finished in the top 10 percent of their respective sports by earning perfect scores. Tennis has scored perfectly the past three years and golf the past two.

Vanderbilt (978) had the SEC's highest APR in football, and Florida, Georgia, Alabama and newcomer Missouri each scored above 970. Ole Miss (990), Alabama (984) and Florida (983) finished above Vanderbilt in basketball. Auburn, LSU and Arkansas, which posted an 894, finished below the NCAA's new benchmark for penalties.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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