Prairie View A&M University was recently informed by the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance that its football program has been placed on postseason ban for the 2014 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs for the upcoming season due to low Academic Performance Rate (APR) average over the past four years. The university’s APR score of 908 fell two points short of the 910 filter the NCAA has put in place. However, the team is still eligible for the 2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference Football Championship and the annual league championship game as the SWAC opts out the playoffs.
Prairie View A&M student-athletes are graduating 17 percentage points higher than the overall student body. The current student body federal graduation rate is 33 percent while the student-athletes have a rate of 50 percent. “We have higher academic standards than the NCAA minimums and are penalized when reporting to the NCAA,” said Prairie View A&M Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson. “However, we do acknowledge that football eligibility is an issue and we are providing support and an approved APR Plan to improve their academic performance rate.”
PVAMU President Dr. George C. Wright has made a commitment to all students at the university, which includes student-athletes, that they have the necessary support to be successful in the classroom. Dr. Wright’s goal is to ensure that the NCAA and its supporters fully understand the unique mission of PVAMU and the students the university serves.
Prairie View A&M Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson and Director of Athletic Compliance Monique Carroll have been tasked with establishing the “Foundation for Future APR Success”. One of the first tasks has been to beef up the Compliance Department’s staffing in order to provide full support for the student-athletes. As a result, Carroll has hired three additional personnel to directly assist in academic support of the student athletes. With the additional staffing in place, Carroll and her staff have already drafted an extensive APR Improvement Plan, that was approved by the NCAA. The plan will have a positive impact on future APR scores.
“Our 2014 football schedule reflects PVAMU’s commitment to academics as the 10-game schedule allows the student-athletes to have ample time to focus on their academic endeavors throughout the season,” stated Robinson.
Under fourth-year head football coach Heishma Northern, the PVAMU football program has broken a plethora of records both on the field and in the classroom. Coach Northern has reported the second and third-highest APR scores in program history since APR was introduced in 2004. The football team posted a score of 925 during the 2011-12 reporting cycle and a score of 912 in 2012-13.
During the current APR reporting cycle, nine teams at Prairie View A&M saw improvements in their multi-year scores (baseball, football, men’s basketball, men’s indoor & outdoor track & field, men’s tennis, softball, women’s cross country and women’s indoor track & field).
With the four-year APR score set to raise to 930 in 2015-16, Prairie View A&M is being proactive in preparing its teams for the higher benchmark. As of now, 13 (baseball, bowling, men’s basketball, men’s tennis, soccer, softball, volleyball, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, women’s indoor & outdoor track & field and women’s tennis) of the department’s 18 teams have exceeded the future score.
Courtesy: Prairie View Athletics