APR Report Shows Progress for Football, No Penalties for Any Sport
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The NCAA Division I 2004-05 Academic Progress Rate reports released today show The University of Alabama football program significantly improved from the last report – up 36 points in the two-year average for football. UA will not receive any penalties or scholarship reductions in any sports.
“This report shows we are making progress,” said Athletics Director Mal Moore. “With the commitment we have from our coaches and our student-athletes, we expect continued improvement in the years to come.”
The APR Multiyear Rate Upper Confidence Boundary, a measure that takes into account statistically the small sample sizes of some teams, shows all UA sports above the cut score of 925.
While men’s basketball showed a decline in this APR report due to transfers out of the program and early departure for professional sports careers, Coach Mark Gottfried’s overall success with his student-athletes shows a 100 percent graduation rate (18 of 18) for seniors who complete their eligibility. The Multiyear Rate Upper Confidence Boundary score for men’s basketball is at 948.
One sign of continued progress is the success of student athletes in the just-released fall 2005 semester grade reports. Some 195 student-athletes made the Athletics Honor Roll with grade point averages of 3.0 or better. Twelve of 16 teams had team GPAs of 3.0 or better. The composite GPA of UA student-athletes through the fall 2005 semester was just a fraction below a B average or 2.914.
Coach Mike Shula, completing his third year as head coach, has helped the football graduation rate improve. Since Shula arrived at UA in 2003, the football team’s graduation rate has seen steady improvement and now stands at 67 percent, one of the highest rates all-time for the UA football program and better than the overall student graduation rate during the same period. Because the NCAA tracks graduation rates in six-year intervals (and four-year averages within those intervals), the results under Shula will not be reflected in their graduation reports for several more years, but the current success is visible and measurable.
Fourteen UA players competing in the Cotton Bowl had already earned their degrees including Charlie Peprah, who has his master’s, and DeMeco Ryans, who graduated after just seven semesters, won the NCAA Top VIII award, and is the most decorated student-athlete in UA football history. At last year’s Music City Bowl, 11 players had already graduated.
UA athletics officials also confirmed the following under Coach Shula’s leadership:
- 38 players have stayed through their fourth year; 19 have already graduated; 4 more will graduate in spring 2006, bringing that total to 23 of 38 (60%).
- The 2001 class has graduated 8 of 15 already and 4 more will graduate in May, totaling 12 of 15 (80%).
- The 2002 class has graduated 3 of 12 in just 3.5 years (Ryans, Simpson, McLain); 6 are on track to graduate in 2006 for a total graduation rate of 75%.
- The overall GPA of the football team is almost a 2.4.
One of the secrets behind the academic success for current Tide athletes is Alabama’s Center for Athletic Student Services (CASS), headed by Jon Dever. In April 2005, a $10.3 million renovation of Bryant Hall was completed, transforming the former athletic dormitory into the Paul W. Bryant Academic Center, a state of the art academic center benefiting more than 425 Crimson Tide student athletes. The 52,300 square-foot building is among the finest in the country. It houses a 48-seat computer lab, a math lab with 18 laptop computers aiding athletes when they travel, a reading lab with six computers, a writing lab, two 50-seat classrooms, a 140-seat classroom, and 32 individual study/tutor rooms.
The Bryant Academic Center serves not only as a functioning full-service academic facility but also as the home for the CASS staff and the Champs’ Lifeskills program. Moore calls the center “the crown jewel in the Alabama athletic department’s Crimson Tradition Fund facility enhancement campaign.”
“This project has been priority one since we started the renovations of our athletic facilities,” Moore said. “Academics is at the center of our mission at Alabama and we wanted to create a place that would aid all our student-athletes in their educational pursuits. I feel very strongly that Bryant Hall will benefit every student-athlete, not just during their years at Alabama, but for a lifetime.”
The CASS support team includes Dever, several professional staff members, graduate assistants and more than 50 tutors who work with the athletes daily on every subject. Dever has also partnered with other UA agencies to provide testing services to identify student athletes who may have learning problems and to arrange for specific assistance in defined areas if needed.
From the moment a recruit first walks onto the campus to the moment an athlete graduates with diploma in hand, the academic center is there to serve them, Dever said. For the first year at the Capstone, freshman and junior college transfers are required to attend nightly study halls. After that, the attendance is based on the individual’s GPA and study needs. Each student athlete is assigned an athletic academic program advisor.
Advisors closely track students’ academic progress, class attendance, and study hall requirements. The CASS staff offers career advice and counseling, makes sure all athletes are maintaining satisfactory progress toward their degrees, and monitors academic eligibility.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.