Despite making significant improvements in its athletics program in recent years, Texas Southern University has learned that when the NCAA releases its annual Academic Progress Report, TSU’s football program failed to meet the required average score over the most recent four-year evaluation period for graduation rates.
TSU’s Director of Athletics Charles McClelland accepts the penalties noting that, since taking over the athletic program in 2008, he has made the academic performance of TSU’s student athletes a priority. “Texas Southern University athletics is a much improved program today and despite this setback we are proud of the improvements that we have made to date in all 16 programs. I am confident that we are heading in the right direction.” McClelland said. “Our student-athletes are graduating at a 45 percent rate and we have added six additional staff members to help our kids succeed,” he added.
On April 23, representatives from Texas Southern appeared before the NCAA Division 1 Academic Performance Program Level-Three Penalty and Access to Postseason Competition Committee. There they learned that the Tiger Football Program had received a four-year average score of 811 out of 1000. The NCAA standard rate is 930. As a result, the football team would be ineligible to participate in any postseason competition for the 2012-2013 football seasons, including but not limited to, the SWAC Championship Game and NCAA Division I FCS Football Championship.
Penalties for the University include the elimination of spring football practice and the spring game, loss of four hours of countable athletically related activities per week during the football team’s playing and practice season, and the loss of four hours of countable athletically related activities per week outside of the team’s playing and practice season. All lost hours must be replaced by hours of academic related activities.
Based on Texas Southern’s 2011-2012 annual progress report data, the football team is the only team at the institution subject to an APP penalty and/or postseason ineligibility.
Despite the penalties, the committee was encouraged by some of the recent actions of the administration both inside and outside of the department of athletics. The committee noted that the president has expanded the compliance office, which is responsible for certifying and monitoring student-athletes’ academic progress, from one to five individuals, including one individual who works entirely with the football team. The athletics department has also implemented a policy that all entering two-year college transfers must have three seasons of eligibility remaining and at least a 2.6 grade-point average. There are no exceptions or exemptions in the admissions process for student-athletes who do not meet the academic requirements of the University.
A confident McClelland added, “Our 2011-2012 scores which will be reported at this time next year will show that we are above the 930 mark and we will be totally out of penalties next year. We have calculated our numbers and are certain we will avoid these penalties in the future.”