NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Head coach Jim Calhoun reacts on the sidelines against the Syracuse Orange during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Mention the Academic Progress Rate (APR) and folks like Dana O'Neil and Pat Forde get instant hard-ons. On paper, it's the perfect measuring stick to determine if a college basketball program is serving its student-athletes and ensuring that their education actually does matter. Fall below the arbitrary threshold, like UConn did in recent years, and you are guilty of running a lazy, dirty and probably evil program hellbent on ruining the lives of these young men for your own glorious, selfish gain.
Of course, none of that is actually true. Like most things the NCAA does, the APR works better as a PR tool than any kind of realistic measurement of academic success at a college basketball program. And Donna Ditota, host of The MC Dubz & CJ Show, just went to town on it.
First, the good news. Despite fears that Syracuse is walking a thin line of APR eligibility and Fab Melo's apparent lack of interest in passing his classes, the Orange should be just fine over the next couple years.
SU’s most recent APR of 928 would allow the Orange to participate in the NCAA Tournament for the next two seasons. But by 2014-15, teams must reach a four-year average of 930 to play in the postseason.
...the Orange, said Boeheim, posted perfect scores of 1,000 for the last two individual years, with only one of those scores factored into its most recent reported four-year average. So, even by stricter NCAA standards, SU’s participation in the postseason appears safe for now.
Donna notes that Syracuse will lose points for Fab Melo, even though he is leaving school to prepare for a professional career, the very point of college. SU will also lose at least one point for Mookie Jones' leaving school, even though it reportedly had nothing to do with academics.
How either of those things translate to Syracuse not taking the academics of it's basketball players seriously, I don't understand. And that's the point.
You already know how Jim Boeheim feels about the APR. But just in case you feel like he's biased because of Syracuse's score or that he's just complaining for the sake of complaining as Jim Boeheim is wont to do, here's the former president of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics as well.
"The NCAA uses the APR as sort of a bait-and-switch sales tactic," said Gerald Gurney, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Oklahoma and past president of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics. "I’m not a big fan of it. They make it seem like it is a measure of academic success in terms of graduation when in fact the only thing it does is take a snapshot of retention and eligibility. And retention and eligibility are not the same as academic success."
Go read the rest of the piece here. It's not anything you didn't know or assume already, but it's nice to see a reporter doing their job rather than just being a blowhard and taking things at face value (and yes, I'm talking about whoever you think I'm talking about).