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Wake basketball dead last in the ACC in NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR)

The NCAA released its annual APR scores today. Wake Forest basketball came in at a 942, last in the ACC, 4 points behind Virginia. While there are several nuances and flaws in this score, it is certainly something that the Wake Forest administration cannot be happy about representing the University.


First of all, let's take a look at what the Academic Progress Rate (APR) is. It can be often times be confusing to understand, even for people that understand the basics behind it. From the Wikipedia page about the APR:

The Academic Progress Rate (APR) is a term-by-term measure of eligibility and retention for Division I student-athletes that was developed as an early indicator of eventual graduation rates.

Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one retention point for staying in school and one eligibility point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by the points possible and then multiplied by one thousand to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate score. Example: A Division I Football Bowl Subdivision team awards the full complement of 85 grants-in-aid. If 80 student-athletes remain in school and academically eligible, three remain in school but are academically ineligible and two drop out academically ineligible, the team earns 163 of 170 possible points for that term. Divide 163 by 170 and multiply by 1,000 to determine that the team’s Academic Progress Rate for that term is 959.

The NCAA calculates the rate as a rolling, four-year figure that takes into account all the points student-athletes could earn for remaining in school and academically eligible during that period. Teams that do not earn an Academic Progress Rate above specific benchmarks face penalties ranging from scholarship reductions to more severe sanctions like restrictions on scholarships and practice time.

Before I get into this I just want to say that I spent a good amount of time trying to break down exactly what they are measuring here in their rolling, four-year period. It's extremely hard to determine why schools were penalized, who was penalized, and what year they were penalized. I suspect it is like this to protect the individual student's rights.

Therefore, anything I postulate in the rest of this article is advanced guesswork based on my understanding of the APR. If I am off on any of it please tell me and I will fix it!

From what I could best determine, this year's APR score is measuring the time frame of the 2008-2012 basketball seasons. For context, that is from James Johnson sophomore year (which he left after), to Jeff Bzdelik's second season (Carson Desrosiers, Tony Chennault and Anthony Fields all left after this season).

Here are the APR results from this season:

1. Duke 995
2. Miami 990
3. NC St. 984
4. VT 981
5. Clemson 973
6. GT 972
7. FSU 960
8. UNC 959
9. BC 958
10. Maryland 948
11. UVA 946
12. Wake 942

First of all, I'm going to list all of the players who left during this timeframe (if I missed a couple please let me know):

James Johnson ('09)
Jeff Teague ('09)
Al-Farouq Aminu ('10)
Konnor Tucker ('10)
Tony Woods ('11)
JT Terrell ('12)
Ari Stewart ('12)
Melvin Tabb ('12)

Now, it says above in the NCAA's rules that schools aren't hurt by players who transfer or go pro who are in good academic standing. It's hard to discern those above who were in good standing, but if I recall correctly, Melvin Tabb was dismissed right before the 2011-2012 basketball season. J.T. Terrell withdrew from school in September of that year. Therefore, I believe they both lost at least one point a piece because they did not stay in school. It's unclear as to whether they were in good academic standing or not.

The interesting thing about this (and where a bit of ambiguity comes into it is), is that the score actually went up this year from 939 last season. So that either means that the people we dropped (Cameron Stanley and Jamie Skeen both transferred from Wake Forest) were worse in APR-terms than Terrell, Stewart and Tabb, or that the problems of Tabb and Terrell were put into the 2011 season.

I'm not sure if the problems of Ty Walker during his Wake Forest playing days actually resulted in any points lost in terms of APR, but it is likely that he lost at least one point for us while here during his two suspensions.

The biggest thing I can discern from these results being released is we are being hurt from both the players going pro (this is not a dig at those three in anyway for going to the NBA, just a statement based on our score), as well as the poor academic standing of some of our transfers/withdrawals over the past 4-5 years.

It is extremely disappointing that Wake Forest is last in the ACC in the APR standings, especially since we have been doing so poorly on the basketball court. For a school, which prides itself on both basketball and academic excellence, this is something that is embarrassing for the alumni and the school alike.

As much fire as I'm probably going to get for this next paragraph I'm going to say it anyway, because the research that I did indicates that it is factually likely.

I'm sure the majority of people who see this will immediately blame Jeff Bzdelik. While there is certainly plenty of blame to go around for these bad scores, I would say the biggest problem lies in the bad decision making and sub-par academics of the student-athletes who were recruited over the past 6-8 years. It will be seen in the next few years as to whether or not the most recent departures were in good academic standing when they left Wake Forest, but what is clear is those recruited by Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio, both those who went pro and transferred, had academic problems while a Demon Deacon.

The good news is we should see an uptick in the APR score next year because everybody who was not a senior last year stayed at Wake. It will be interesting to see how much it goes up, as it will indicate the academic standing of Anthony Fields, Carson Desrosiers and Tony Chennault. These are kids who Wake Forest labeled as "good kids" coming in, but transferred for one reason or another.

It will also give us a little insight as to whether or not James Johnson was in good academic standing when he went pro. It doesn't really matter in the long run, but something I've been interested in as Wake Forest continues to label those who go pro as "bad eggs."

Hopefully in the future we can focus on good basketball and great academic performance, because the past few years have been extremely embarrassing as a Wake Forest alumnus. I'm tired of writing this articles about my alma mater and am ready for something to be done about it.

All thoughts are extremely welcome and I'm sure I messed up somewhere, so let me know about it!