South Carolina had seven teams that were perfect on the latest NCAA Academic Progress Rate scores that were released Wednesday — and none of the school’s athletic programs faces penalties for low scores.
The men’s golf team and six women’s programs — golf, cross country, swimming, indoor and outdoor track and volleyball — had a single-year APR score of 1,000. That means those teams had no players who were ineligible or who left the program with eligibility remaining during the 2008-09 school year.
The men’s basketball team had a single-year score of 977, its second highest since the NCAA began computing APR in 2005. Its multiyear score was 908, below the 925 cut-line that subjects teams to possible penalties.
A year after the men’s basketball program was docked a scholarship because of its multiyear score, USC was spared another scholarship loss because Darrin Horn’s squad did not have any so-called “0-for-2 players” — those who leave the program early while ineligible — in 2008-09.
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USC compliance director Jennifer Stiles said men’s basketball has improved its APR outlook since Horn arrived before the 2008-09 season. The team’s multiyear APR score was 899 in 2006-07, making it subject to historical penalties had it remained below 900.
“The last few years since coach Horn has come on board, they are trending in the right direction and increasing their multiyear number because of that,” Stiles said. “I think he understood when he came in that the APR needed improvement, and he’s been sensitive to that.”
“I think Darrin’s had a dramatic improvement on men’s basketball,” USC athletics director Eric Hyman said. “When he inherited men’s basketball, we were totally immersed in the danger zone. But they don’t need a lifeline anymore.”
The Gamecocks’ baseball team had its best single-year score at 983, while the football team posted scores of 934 for single-year and 938 for multiyear, a four-year period beginning with the 2005-06 school year.
“Football’s had a tremendous year. Men’s basketball had a tremendous single year,” USC senior associate athletics director Val Sheley said. “It takes a while when you’ve had some bad years to pull that multiple year score up. But we had a great year.”
The Gamecocks’ multiyear APR ranked in the bottom third among SEC schools in football and men’s basketball, while the baseball team was eighth in the league.
Beginning this summer the NCAA will release specific APR scores for head coaches to add another layer of accountability to the data. The first scores will detail the APR numbers for coaches in football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s indoor track.
Stiles said USC coaches appreciate the significance of APR. In the most recent scores, 15 of the Gamecocks’ 19 sports ranked above the national average for public schools.
“We’ve been working with the APR for several years now,” Stiles said. “Our coaches do understand it, and understand how it can impact the program.”
Among other state schools, Charleston Southern was the only one hit with a penalty. The Buccaneers’ men’s cross country team received a public notice for falling below 900 with a multiyear score of 800.