Initial reports suggested that, due to low APR scores, the UConn men's basketball team might be in danger of missing the 2012 NCAA Tournament -- and be unable to defend their title. Turns out, the Huskies are eligible for tournament play this season, though new NCAA regulations to improve academic performance will go into effect in 2013.
This means that Jim Calhoun's team, which had a recent APR score of 893 (the NCAA minimum score needed to avoid sanctions is 900), has time to get back on track. Going forward, a team will need a four-year rolling average of 900 to be eligible for postseason play, and if a program is below 900 in 2013, it could still remain eligible if it averaged 930 the previous two years.
So where does UConn stand? According to the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore, they have a lot of work to do and not much time to do it, especially if the NCAA doesn't tweak their method for calculating two-year APR averages.
UConn's APR for 2009-2010 was 826 and its most recent four-year rolling average, released last May, was 893. UConn expects an APR of 975 for 2010-2011 when that figure is released in May. A 975 would bring UConn to 888.5 for a four-year rolling average, below the required 900. Plus, the two-year average would be 900.5, assuming UConn does indeed get the 975. That falls well below the 930.
For UConn to be eligible in 2012-13, the NCAA would have to change its method and timetable for collecting and releasing APR scores so that eligibility in 2013 is based on the scores from 2010-11 and 2011-12, instead of 2009-10 and 2010-11. That is being studied and will be discussed at the NCAA meetings in February. Scores would have to be revealed before May, as is now the case. Failing that, there also will be appeals.
So, yeah, not ideal. University president Susan Herbst spoke about the new regulations and is in favor of tying the two-year average to the most recent APR scores.
"Students who have enjoyed academic success should not suffer because of the shortcomings of individuals who played in prior seasons," Herbst said in a statement. "It is my understanding the NCAA has already begun examining the fairest method for implementing the new rules and I encourage them to make the time frame between a violation and a punishment as short as possible."
That's certainly a reasonable request. The bigger issue, of course, is the men's team's poor APR scores. UConn has a plan in place to fix that but with all the resources at the program's disposal it never should've gotten to that point. If the women's team and the football team are able to regularly log APR scores north of 900, surely Calhoun's squad can do the same.