The University of Texas received the top score among Big 12 football teams in the NCAA's latest Academic Progress Rate report. The report included data from the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years, and the Longhorns received a score of 944, which is well over the Division I football average of 931, the Division I public university football average of 922 and the NCAA's designated benchmark score of 925 to avoid penalties.
"We're extremely proud of the success we've had on the field, but even prouder of the hard work the guys have put in the classroom," said head coach Mack Brown. "We place a great deal of emphasis on the academic progress of the players in our program and helping them prepare themselves for life after football.
"We have had 40 or 50 guys earn spots on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll each semester, had the most players on the Academic All-Big 12 team last year, and our steady improvement in the APR, as well as the fact that it was the best in the conference, are all positive indicators of the academic success our team is having."
Texas also led the Big 12 in selections to the 2006 Academic All-Big 12 Football Team with 24, including 14 on the first team.
"It's nice to be at the top of the list for the conference, but we're striving to do even better," said Assistant Athletics Director for Academic Services Brian Davis. "We're proud of the effort of the student-athletes and the academic staff. The coaches have been so supportive and we have an administration that provides us the resources to be successful. Everyone we recruit understands this is a special place, and they have to work hard. It also bears witness to the fact that we have so many guys chase the NFL, but leave in good standing, and we get them back and they're able to finish, and that shows up in the APR."
On Monday night at the UT Men's Athletics Academic Awards Presentation, 66 members of the football team were honored with the Athletics Director's Award, recognizing a grade point average of 3.0 or better. The group included seven winners of the Provost Award, recognizing a 4.0 GPA. Over each of the last four semesters, Texas has had at least 40 players earn spots on the Athletics Director's Honor Roll for posting at least a 3.0 GPA. That number was topped out by a UT record 51 members of the Athletics Director's Honor Roll during the `Horns National Championship run in the fall of 2005.
"I think it says a lot about what our academic staff and our coaches try to work with us on," said DT Frank Okam. "They really stress our players being student-athletes. They allow you miss practice for classes and study groups and other necessities for your education. In the progress I've seen over the past couple of years, it's encouraging to see most of our starters and key players achieve honors like at our recent academics awards banquet. It says a lot of our guys are competing with the top students that go to our school. I think it's great we're at the top of the conference. We set our standards high for excellence in both academics and athletics, and to be at the top of the APR is a good sign."
The NCAA member colleges and universities have adopted a comprehensive academic reform package designed to improve the academic success and graduation of all student-athletes. The centerpiece of the academic reform package is the development of a new academic measurement for sports teams, known as the Academic Progress Rate (APR).
In 2004, the NCAA developed an Academic Progress Rate metric that examines academic success on a more real-time basis. One point is awarded each term to each scholarship student-athlete who meets academic-eligibility standards and an additional point is awarded if they remain with the institution. A team's APR is the total points earned by the team at a given time divided by the total points possible.
Big 12 Football APR Scores (Released May 2, 2007)
Texas Tech 931
Iowa State 930
Kansas State 926
Oklahoma State 924
Texas A&M 922