Print and Go Back ESPN.com: USC [Print without images]

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Basketball doesn't hit mark in APR but avoids punishment

By Pedro Moura

Eighteen of USC's 19 sports exceeded the minimum mark of 925 in the NCAA's annual APR rankings released Tuesday, and the Trojans' men's basketball team, the only squad not to meet that figure, avoided typical scholarship punishment because of special alternate conditions met by the program.

Three teams at USC -- women's soccer, women's golf and men's track and field -- finished with perfect scores of 1000 on the APR scale and were honored with Public Recognition Awards by the NCAA. The score means that all senior athletes left the school with degrees for each of those sports.

But the basketball team's score, measuring the 2009-2010 academic year, came in under the base level for the sixth time in the seven years of the APR's existence. The only exception was the 2008-2009 year. The reason the Trojans weren't punished this time, according to the school's official site, is because all of the team's athletes who left the school during the measured time period were eligible when they left the school.

The APR, or Academic Progress Rate, is intended to be a real-time measure of Division I schools' retention of student-athletes. An APR of 925, per the NCAA, correlates to a graduation rate of approximately 50 percent.

Sixteen of USC's 19 teams finished better than the national average for their sport for the four-year period measured by the NCAA, with the only exceptions being basketball, women's cross country and women's swimming.

The football team finished with a 2009-2010 APR of 932 and a four-year APR of 952, putting it just above the national average. Private schools average a 963 nationally.