WVU, Marshall clear academic hurdle

MORGANTOWN — Once again, West Virginia’s and Marshall’s athletic teams have passed the NCAA’s academic test.

When the NCAA released its Academic Progress Rate (APR) statistics for the most recent period, the Mountaineers not only avoided penalties but exceeded standards almost across the board.

“I’m pleased that our teams continue to make good academic progress,’’ athletic director Oliver Luck said. “Overall our APR score is strong.’’

The NCAA’s threshold for avoiding penalties or postseason bans was raised to 930 this year. That’s based on each school’s four-year APR average in each sport, the most recent of which is 2012-13.

West Virginia’s average for its varsity sports teams was 975. The lowest of the individual sports figures was 937 by baseball. The highest was women’s rowing at 998 for a program that only a few years ago faced sanctions. In all, seven sports scored 990 or better.

Nine of the school’s 17 varsity sports scored a single-year score of a perfect 1,000 — men’s and women’s basketball, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country, rowing, women’s gymnastics and rifle.

“We had three teams with perfect scores in 2010-11, seven teams in 2011-12 and now nine teams in 2012-13,’’ Luck said. “I’m certainly delighted with that progress.’’

For the four-year period on which the current APR scores are based, the scores of WVU’s 17 programs were baseball 937, men’s basketball 974, women’s basketball 991, women’s cross country 996, football 942, women’s gymnastics 995, rifle 971, women’s rowing 998, men’s soccer 984, women’s soccer 994, men’s swimming 975, women’s swimming 980, women’s tennis 947, women’s indoor track 994, women’s outdoor track 994, women’s volleyball 950 and wrestling 946.

As for the one-year scores for 2012-13, there was just one alarming number. Women’s tennis scored just 909. But with prior year scores of 986, 978 and 964, even that score won’t affect the team’s four-year average unless it continues for several more years.

The other 2012-13 scores other than those that notched a perfect 1,000 were: baseball 989, football 933, men’s soccer 969, men’s swimming 990, wrestling 950, women’s swimming 988 and women’s volleyball 979.

The APR is based on eligibility and retention of student-athletes on a semester-by-semester basis with each scholarship athlete receiving a maximum of four points per school year. Athletes who are ruled ineligible or who transfer while an ineligible decrease the number of points awarded.

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Likewise, Marshall’s APR multi-year average for its varsity sports teams was 975. The lowest score was turned in by the Herd’s men’s basketball team was 930, while the highest was 1,000 by the women’s tennis team, which had a perfect score for the fourth straight season.

Four other Marshall teams reached 990 — men’s cross country (994), women’s cross country (990), softball (991) and outdoor track (996).

Nine Herd squads scored a single-year score of a perfect 1,000 — men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and indoor and outdoor track.

“In my time in this business, I’ve never witnessed this accomplishment,” MU athletic director Mike Hamrick said.

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1

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