TCU close to penalties if academics don’t improve

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The TCU football team was one of the nation’s worst academically performing programs for a second consecutive school year in 2012-13, according to the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate.

The APR, billed as a real-time measurement of academic performance, is based on a points-system that rewards college programs with athletes who stay academically eligible and stay in school.

This year’s four-year measurements, released Wednesday, cover the period from 2009-10 through 2012-13. The report shows a two-point improvement in scores among all college sports, going from 974 to 976. A perfect score is 1,000.

Teams must earn a 930 four-year average APR or a 940 average over the most recent two years.

TCU’s four-year average for its football team was 945, thanks to high scores in 2009-10 and 2010-11. But its score was 910 in 2012-13 and 909 the year before that, meaning it will have to dramatically increase its score next year to meet the 930 cutoff and remain eligible for postseason competition.

“I’m well aware of our APR and we have a plan in place to make sure we stay above 930, and I anticipate we will,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “Our staff has a plan in place to ensure we stay above the cut line in the years to come.”

A score of 930 predicts a 50 percent graduation rate.

Only UNLV (908), New Mexico State (907) and Idaho (838) had lower football scores than TCU among Football Bowl Subdivision teams. UNLV and Idaho are banned from postseason play because of their low four-year scores.

Oklahoma State’s four-year average fell below 930 and will be forced to cut one practice day each week this fall, as will New Mexico State.

TCU had excellent APR scores in 2009-10 (997) and 2010-11 (959). But the drug-selling scandal in February 2012, plus other personnel issues that have plagued the program the last couple of years has put a dent in the Horned Frogs’ on-field performance as well as its APR.

TCU coach Gary Patterson did not respond to an interview request. Del Conte referred further questions to Andrea Nordmann, TCU’s director for compliance and student services, but she did not return messages.

Since Patterson’s first year in 2001 as TCU’s head coach, nearly 80 percent of TCU players drafted in the NFL had their degree, according to TCU. The team has also been honored the past six years for a graduation success rate of 75 percent or better by the American Football Coaches Association.

But the Academic Progress Rate is a different measure of academic performance, based only on scholarship athletes.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.

Big 12 APR rates

Here’s how Big 12 football programs fared in the NCAA’s latest Academic Progress Rate report. These scores are an average of the last four academic school years, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. Oklahoma State fell below the 930 threshold and will be penalized with reduced practice time during the 2014 season.

School2011-122012-134-year average
Kansas State969982968
Oklahoma934967965
Kansas931957959
Baylor958962957
Iowa State934969948
Texas9471,000947
TCU909910945
West Virginia942933942
Texas Tech937923932
Oklahoma State947934929

TCU’s Academic Progress Rate drops

Year1-year score4-year average
2012-13910945
2011-12909962
2010-11959973
2009-10997972
2008-09983968

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 sstevenson@star-telegram.com

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