Feb. 17, 2006
Los Angeles, CA (Mar. 1) -- Loyola Marymount University ranked fifth in the nation among all NCAA Division I schools in the first Academic Progress Rates (APR) report, issued by the NCAA on Monday for its 326 Division I schools. The APR measures an institutions success in retaining scholarship athletes and keeping them eligible in each sport.
The Lions earned an APR score of 991, placing them in a tie for fifth with Villanova among all 326 Division I institutions. Rounding out the top-5 are Yale (999), Princeton (994), Penn (993) and William & Mary (992). LMU, who is considered a Division I-AAA institution (those schools who compete at the D-I level without football), ranks number one among those institutions.
"The efforts of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who put in tireless hours, specifically those in our newly constructed Student-Athlete Academic Center, is the reason behind our success," said LMU Director of Athletics Dr. William Husak. "It is the people that make this place so special and their hard work deserve all the praise for earning an APR that is fifth in the nation. I am very proud to be a Lion."
LMU also ranks first among all institutions in the state of California, number one among all Jesuit institutions and best in the West Coast Conference (WCC). The average APR among the eight schools in the WCC sits at 964. The national average among all Division I schools is 948. Each schools in the WCC are private and seven of the eight are classified D-I AAA. The average among private schools nationally is 965 and among D-I AAA institutions is 954.
"Our goal at LMU is to not only Build Champions on the athletic field but to Build Champions within the classroom and within the community in which we serve," said Husak. "We are committed to advancing the goal of the University in developing the whole person. We have done that by putting into place initiatives that will help us be successful. One of those is the requirement that all of our student-athletes take 15 credit hours each semester. That has contributed to our excellence within the classroom and is a major reason for our high APR."
Over the last several years the NCAA has put an emphasis on improving academics within athletic departments across the country. That has led to the Academic Reform Package. Within that package came the APR, an academic version of an RPI that rewards eligibility, retention and graduation, and penalizes academically under-performing teams. The APR takes into account only those student-athletes who receive any form of athletic financial aid.
The APR data released on Feb. 28 represents information from the 2003-04 academic year and evaluates the institution's overall APR as well as each NCAA championship sport a school sponsors. LMU currently sponsors 17 varsity sports, 16 of which compete in NCAA sponsored championships. Among the 16 sports at LMU, 12 sports, including baseball, men and women's basketball, women crew, men and women's cross country, men's golf, men and women's soccer, men and women's tennis and women's volleyball, compete in the prestigious WCC. In addition, women's swimming participates in the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference and men and women's water polo compete in the Western Water Polo Association. Women's softball competes in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference. Men's crew is the only varsity program at LMU not affiliated with the NCAA and is not in the APR.
LMU had 11 of its 16 sports earn a perfect score of 1000 and every sport earned a rate above a 967. Of the institutions in the WCC, Santa Clara was the closest in terms of perfect scores among individual programs with seven. According to the new Academic Performance Rate requirements, teams must maintain an APR score of 925 or above, or they will be subject to a contemporaneous penalty. An APR of 925 equates to a 50 percent graduation rate.
According to the data, about 7 percent of all teams would be subject to contemporaneous financial aid penalties beginning in 2005-06. About 51 percent of all Division I institutions would have at least one team subject to penalty. The penalty data is informational only, because the penalty phase will not be implemented until next year, after two years of APR data accumulate. The information simply warns institutions about the types of academic outcomes that will warrant penalties in subsequent years.
- GO LIONS -