PROGRESS? OR NOT?
College athletes showed marginal academic gains last year, according to data released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The association’s “Academic Progress Rate” (APR) climbed by just one point during the 2014-15 academic year – inching up from 978 to 979. The only good news? In recent years there have been more pronounced gains among “limited resource” programs (which rose from 945 to 966 over the last five years) and among “historically black colleges and universities” (918 to 956 over the same period).
Still, 22 of 23 programs facing postseason bans due to low APR were historically black schools (including nine programs at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana).
Of course the NCAA isn’t exactly asking much. The APR – tracked since 2003 – only measures whether student-athletes manage to retain their eligibility and stay in school.
“Scholarship student-athletes each semester earn one point for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or graduating,” the NCAA noted in a press release.
In other words, it’s not clear whether these athletes are actually getting smarter – they’re just not losing eligibility or dropping out.
Translation? Be cautious when schools trot out this metric as evidence of “progress.”
Anyway … we will continue to advocate for the complete privatization of higher education, including athletics. Such a course would not only promote economic fairness, it would raise achievement levels across the boards.
UPDATE: To see how Clemson University fared on the NCAA APR release, click here. To see how the University of South Carolina fared, click here (.pdf).