Men’s basketball, men’s golf, women’s cross-country, gymnastics and women’s tennis earned recognition based on their most recent multiyear Academic Progress Rates.
While Towson University men’s basketball head coach Pat Skerry has transformed the Tigers into one of the most formidable teams in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) on the court, his relentless commitment to his student-athletes’ academic success has resulted in the ultimate reward.
The men’s basketball team was one of five Towson athletic programs, along with men’s golf, women’s cross-country, gymnastics and women’s tennis to be recognized Wednesday with the Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition Awards.
Based on their most recent multiyear Academic Progress Rates, these teams have earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards for posting scores in the top 10 percent of their sport. The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams.
“I am very proud of our student-athletes and the work they put into their academics as well as their athletics,” said Geoff Gordon, Towson’s assistant athletics director for academic achievement. “They are the definition of student-athlete and their dedication and academic success demonstrates that. They pride themselves on their excellence in the classroom and on the field of play, and I couldn’t be more proud of them all. They deserve all the credit and I have no doubt our student-athletes will continue along the path of academic excellence and merit.”
The Tigers women’s cross-country team is being recognized for the eighth-straight year. Meanwhile, women’s tennis has earned three straight honors, and gymnastics was feted for the second time. Men’s basketball and men’s golf are being recognized for the first time.
When Skerry arrived in 2011, he inherited a program that was in midst of a long losing streak and reeling from APR penalties. The Towson’s men's basketball program has posted improving scores since it was banned from the NCAA Tournament in 2013 because of a low APR scores from the 2007-08 through 2010-11 academic years.
Along with growing academically, Towson University athletics have been growing its footprint in the community. The men's basketball team ranked first nationally among Division I men’s teams participating in the NCAA Team Works’ Helper Helper Community Service Competition. Overall, the Towson University athletic department finished sixth, and first among men's programs.
This year, 1,203 teams are being recognized for academic performance: 746 women’s teams and 457 men’s teams or coed teams. The total number of teams being recognized increased by 132 from a year ago, largely as a result of an increase in perfect scores. Scores for programs in the top 10 percent ranged from 984 to a perfect 1,000, with 1,090 teams earning a perfect score.
Each year, the NCAA honors selected NCAA Division I sports teams by publicly recognizing
their latest multiyear NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate. This announcement
is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight
teams that demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes
by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports. Specifically, these teams
posted multiyear APRs in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport.
The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.
The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or academic term and provides a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in every sport. All teams must meet an academic threshold of 930 to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance. The most recent APRs are multiyear rates based on scores from the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years.
Multiyear APRs for all Division I sports teams, including the teams receiving public recognition, will be announced May 10.
“NCAA student-athletes and schools continue to achieve unprecedented levels of academic success,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We commend these programs for their commitment to academic excellence and dedication to preparing student-athletes for life after college.”