TEMPE, Ariz.—Arizona State University has four teams that were recognized by the NCAA as being ranked in the top 10-percent of their sports nationally in the annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) measurement, it was announced today. Baseball, softball, tennis and volleyball were singled out for their academic achievements by the NCAA.
The four sports represent the most teams that ASU has had recognized in one single year in the 10-year history of the APR measurement. With the four teams, the Sun Devils are tied for second in the Pac-12 Conference with the most teams recognized.
“The APR scores of these four programs represent the nation’s elite in their respective sports” says Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson. “We are very proud of the coaches and the student-athletes in these programs. This is a direct result of the excellent work being done by our Office of Student-Athlete Development, led by award-winning Senior Associate Athletics Director Jean Boyd, his staff and support from our faculty, staff and coaching staffs. The real stars here are the student-athletes themselves for their excellent work in the classroom.“
“The Academic Progress Rate is one of our most significant measures of academic achievement,” says Jean Boyd, ASU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development. "Real-time eligibility and retention lead to graduation and these teams are among the best in the United States in overall academic performance. Excellence in academics, graduating our student-athletes and preparing them for championship lives is the epitome of winning and embodies the Sun Devil Athletics Way.”
The Sun Devil women’s tennis team earned its 9th-straight score of 1000 (or 100 percent).
With nine straight APR scores of a perfect 1000, the NCAA has honored the Arizona State women’s tennis team, led by head coach Sheila McInerney, each year the public recognition announcement has been in existence.
“I think our APR score is a reflection of the synergy among the ASU administration, Office of Student-Athlete Development, ASU support staff, coaches and most of all the student-athletes themselves,” said McInerney. “We are fortunate here at ASU that we all believe you can have the best of all worlds: being successful students, athletes and enjoying your time while being a Sun Devil. A lot of credit goes to our academic coach Denzel Burrell.”
Baseball earning recognition speaks volumes about head coach Tim Esmay’s commitment to academic retention and progress toward the graduation of his athletes, in a sport where it is not uncommon to have athletes leave early and turn pro. It also speaks to the partnership between the baseball coaching staff, student-athletes and baseball academic coaches Patrice Feulner (now the Director for Academic Support at Iowa State University) and Brittney Jarvie.
“I am very proud of these young men as we put a lot of emphasis on academic success and it is a main component of the Sun Devil Way, which we discuss daily,” Esmay said. “It is a grind to play a 56-game regular season schedule and be a full-time student, so this is really a testament to the dedication and hard work of our student-athletes, Patrice and now Brittney.”
Arizona State, Stanford and USC are the only Pac-12 schools to have their baseball programs honored by the NCAA.
Going from initial marks in the 800’s and being at risk of penalties to being singled out the past two years as a top-10 percent-achieving team shows the power of such collaboration. A total of 26 current baseball student-athletes have achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher and earned Scholar Baller® recognition in at least one of the past three semesters.
“Our APR is the reflection of the tireless work of all in the Office of Student-Athlete Development, but particularly our advisor Natalie Thackrah,” says volleyball head coach Jason Watson. "She is the catalyst to our academic success. Her relationship and concern for our student-athletes creates an environment that permits them to grow and develop in their academic pursuits. While our success on the volleyball court is great, it’s Natalie’s work that enables them to gain a college degree – the gateway to success in life after athletics.”
"Our APR score and performance of our players in the classroom is a direct reflection on the Office of Student-Athlete Development (academic coach Shelby Crabtree) and the ASU administration as a whole and a definite credit to the character of our players," first-year softball head coach Craig Nicholson said. "Without a single bye week this season, for our players to consistently get it done in the classroom while maintaining the level of competition necessary to be an elite program nationally is something that we pride ourselves on here at Arizona State."
With four teams recognized ASU is tied for second in the Pac-12 Conference with California, to Stanford's 11.
Each year the NCAA honors select Division I teams by publicly recognizing their latest multiyear APR. This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight teams who demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports. Specifically, these teams posted multiyear APRs in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport.
The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.
Multiyear APRs for all Division I teams, including the teams receiving public recognition, will be announced next week. Last year, Arizona State recorded its highest cumulative APR score since the NCAA started the measurement with 980, 43 points higher than ASU's initial score of 937 in 2003-04.