<
>

UConn men's basketball team's APR remains strong in 2014-15

STORRS, Conn. -- UConn's men's basketball team did not report a third consecutive perfect academic progress rate to the NCAA, but the numbers for the last academic year are well within the national guidelines, which measure a school's ability to keep athletes on track to graduate.

The APR for the 2014-15 school year does not become official until the NCAA releases its national report in the spring, but The Associated Press obtained the numbers from UConn this week after submitting an open records request.

The men's team recorded an APR of 957 out of 1,000 for the year, reflecting the transfers of forward Rakim Lubin and guard Terrence Samuel. The program must maintain a four-year APR average of 930 to remain eligible for next year's NCAA tournament. The team's four-year score is 978.

The football team scored a 990, raising its four-year average to 969. The women's basketball team had a 980 and a four-year score of 983.

Athletic director Warde Manuel, who is leaving next month for the same job at Michigan, said he's proud of the progress the school has made since the men missed the 2013 NCAA tournament because of low APR scores from the 2007-08 through 2010-11 academic years.

"The kids have really put in a great effort," he said. "The kids, when they get here, are staying and doing the work and competing in the classroom."

The rate doesn't track grades, but measures whether students are in good academic standing. Each athlete receives one point per semester for remaining academically eligible and another point each semester for remaining at that school or graduating.

The football team's APR has been steadily rising, from 955 in the 2011-12 academic year to 964, 970 and now 990. Manuel credited coach Bob Diaco, who took over the team in 2014, for making academics a top priority.

Over the past several years, UConn has put in changes in an effort to boost the scores. Those include mandated sanctions for any player who misses three or more classes during the academic year and daily checks of course work for student-athletes who have a grade-point average of 2.3 or lower.

Players also are required to attend at least nine hours of summer school each year and adhere to a "graduation plan" created to ensure each player is on a path to graduate, even if they leave school early for the NBA or other opportunities.