- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before announcing all the latest Academic Progress Rate scores later this month, the NCAA is recognizing the best of the best.
Four Big Ten football programs -- Nebraska, Northwestern, Rutgers and Wisconsin -- received public recognition awards from the NCAA on Wednesday for having multiyear APR scores that rank in the top 10 percent in the sport. The Big Ten accounted for more than 30 percent of the football programs recognized. It tied with the ACC (Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech) among power conferences with the most programs in the top 10.
APR scores measure the retention and eligibility of athletes during a four-year period. The latest period stretched from the 2009-10 season through 2012-13.
The Big Ten had 66 total teams recognized, trailing only the ACC (77), Patriot League (94) and Ivy League (117). Northwestern and Minnesota tied for the most Big Ten teams recognized with 12.
Rutgers football receives a public recognition award for the seventh consecutive year, Northwestern receives recognition for the fifth consecutive year, and Wisconsin made the top 10 for the second straight year.
Northwestern finished second in APR score among FBS schools behind Duke, while Wisconsin finished third.
Nebraska receives its first public recognition award in football. Ohio State had been recognized the three previous seasons.
The APRs for all Division I teams will be released May 14.