It's been a tough few days for the UConn men's basketball team. In fact, it's been been a pretty bumpy ride since winning the national championship in early April.
Coaching departures, player arrests (and subsequent transfers), the looming threat of NCAA sanctions finally realized, and the uncertainty regarding the head coach have all served as distractions in recent weeks.
But the issues specific to the men's team shouldn't be extrapolated to the entire athletic department. Despite the academic under-achievements that have now cost Jim Calhoun's team two scholarships, UConn's other big-time programs received good news on Tuesday when the NCAA released its Academic Progress Rates.
The women earned an APR score of 990, which is based on a four-year rolling average, and had a perfect score of 1000 for the 2009-2010 season. Coach Geno Auriemma sounded predictably happy.
"I am extremely proud of my team's showing in the NCAA's latest Academic Progress Report," Auriemma said in a statement. "Our coaching staff makes it clear to every incoming freshman that they have a responsibility, not only to strive to win championships, but also to strive for excellence in the classroom. We will continue to stress academics as the top priority with the goal of every student-athlete earning her degree from the University of Connecticut."
One advantage Auriemma has over Jim Calhoun is that he doesn't have to compete with the WNBA for players. Women don't leave school before their eligibility is exhausted to enter the draft.
But the UConn football team has players leave early, and they also avoided the NCAA's wrath by posting an APR score of 953. ESPN.com's Big East blogger Brian Bennett writes that most of the conference's football teams fared well.
The national four-year average for football is 946, and six of the eight Big East schools either matched or exceeded that. Teams can incur penalties if they score below 925 and have a student leave school who's academically ineligible. Louisville was subject to that penalty, losing three scholarships for 2011.
Here's the APR for every Big East school (courtesy of Bennett):
- Rutgers: 988
- West Virginia: 962
- Connecticut: 953
- South Florida: 952
- Pittsburgh: 949
- Syracuse: 946
- Cincinnati: 936
- Louisville: 908
Bennett also points out that South Florida had a poor APR score a few years ago but had a "22-point jump from the last APR period, which was the largest improvement of any BCS school this year."
So there's hope for the Huskies basketball team, too.