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Dog Bites Man: Patriot League APR Rates Are Awesome

It shouldn't be much of a news item, really, but as the NCAA released their Academic Progress Rate numbers this year it was no surprise to see Patriot League schools all over the honor list.

Gushes the press release, "For the fifth consecutive year, Yale University had the most teams (24) recognized, followed by Dartmouth College (22) and the University of Pennsylvania (20). By conference, the Ivy Group had the most number of teams honored (135), followed by the Patriot League (90) and the Big East Conference (70)."

Today, the NCAA released the full data for their APR numbers; not only the numbers from last year, but the four-year averages which the awards are based. Let's take a moment to look at the numbers for football and men's basketball for the Patriot League - and then compare them to the rest of Division I athletics. (more)

Just to give the NCAA's APR numbers some context, APR scores are based on a perfect score of 1000, or a 100% rate of athletes that are both progressing towards graduation and remaining academically eligible  To compute this, roughly, take every eligible athlete on your team, and multiply that times two.  Then add the number of athletes that are getting retained by the school together with the number of athletes that are academically eligible.  The ratio, multiplied by 1000, is your APR.

The cutoff for "bad things happening" from the NCAA is generally 925, which roughly corresponds to a 60% graduation rate (ultimately) - though I've seen no scientific evidence to prove this is the case.  Still, a rate of 1000 is the ideal, and what every school should strive towards.  And the Patriot League, unsurprisingly, is near the top.

Here are the numbers for Patriot League Men's Basketball:

Note the five perfect scores of 1000 for men's basketball in the 2009 academic year, including Lehigh's.

To put this in context, you can probably count on one hand the number of kids in basketball who either dropped out or were academically ineligible in the entire league.  That's extraordinary for a Division I school.  And when you compare this to the graduation rate of all of Division I of somewhere between 60% and 70%, that's really something to crow about.

Football also offers plenty of good news:

Again, to put this in perspective, in the Patriot League every football athlete in 2009 averaged 98% of the total available points for retention.  And again, compare that to the 944 of the rest of Division I.  That's something to just sit back, look at the Patriot League and say, "Yes, Virginia, we're obviously doing something right."


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