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Academic Progress Rate and Kansas State

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You've probably heard by now that it became official UConn will not be playing in the Big East or NCAA basketball tournaments next season because of inadequate APR. If you think that means the program isn't able to pay its bills, then get some facts and come back and see me.

Of course, we know that the APR is essentially the NCAA's way of grading schools academically, based on retention rates and eligibility. If you want the full explanation, check Wikipedia, since the "How is APR calculated?" link on the NCAA's website just leads to an otherwise blank page with news archives (http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2012-06-20/www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Academics/Division+I/How+is+APR+calculated). Well played, NCAA.

It's quite nice to see the NCAA finally getting serious about academics, even if the method does have its flaws. It's a system that generally favors bigger sports and bigger schools, but hey, what else would you expect?

Rather than explain all of that, I'll just skip ahead to the final question. Are these requirements any reason for concern for K-State fans? Short answer: Not right now, but perhaps in the future.

First of all, let's take a look at the APR scores and Big 12 ranks for all KSU sports.* Note that these are four-year rates thru the 2010-2011 school year, so we're talking about the original Big 12 schools.

*The NCAA didn't list rowing or equestrian figures for Kansas State, though rowing was at least listed as a varsity sport. I don't know why KSU wasn't there, and I don't particularly care.

1,000 is a perfect score, while 930 is about a 50 percent graduation rate. Rates are for four years, from '07-08 thru '10-11.

Sport APR Big 12 Rank
Baseball 945 T-9th
Football 943 8th
Men's basketball 960 5th
Men's golf 994 3rd
Men's CC 1000 1st
Men's track 954 9th
Women's bball 995 2nd
Women's CC 976 T-11th
Women's golf 1000 T-1st
Women's tennis 946 12th
Women's track 959 12th
Volleyball 968 9th

You'll notice K-State isn't exactly the class of the conference academically, but that isn't something we didn't already know. The important thing is every team is well above the 900 mandated for postseason play, as well as the 925 needed to avoid sanctions.

But things get a little more interesting when you consider the mark needed to play in the postseason will soon be 930. It's going to be phased in and won't be fully implemented until 2015-16, but the way things stand now, this could have a significant blowback.

K-State football and baseball are a little too close for comfort, and it's even more concerning when you realize those rates have been much lower before. But at least we're not among the 99 Division I basketball teams or 17 FBS teams who would be affected if the 930 standard was in place right now. Yikes.

Clearly, this is serious business, and Kansas State certainly can't afford to put itself at any more of a disadvantage than it already is against many of its peers. Stay in school, kids.