ABILENE – The NCAA earlier this month recognized Abilene Christian golf, men’s cross country, and men’s and women’s tennis for academic excellence after they scored in the top 10% of their sports in the most recent Academic Progress Rate results.
ACU’s four honorees are a program high within any academic year. Three programs claimed this distinction following the 2018 and 2015 campaigns.
“I’m extremely proud of these four programs, and the individual work put in each and every day by our student-athletes and coaches,” said ACU Athletics Director Allen Ward. “I also want to applaud the efforts of our academics and compliance staff. They work tirelessly to ensure that our student-athletes have the resources they need to perform well in the classroom all the way through graduation.”
Overall, a dozen Wildcat teams have received the NCAA’s APR Public Recognition Award since the 2014-15 season with golf leading the way with three consecutive citations, dating back to the 2016-17 season.
“This award demonstrates the overall strength of the golf program and the university,” said ACU head golf coach Tom Shaw. “You could say that being a student-athlete at ACU practically guarantees success. We recruit the right kind of golfers who flourish in a Christ-centered, rigorous academic environment. Our student-athletes are strongly encouraged and supported daily with their workloads by our incredible faculty and staff.
“While we take great pride in our player’s athletic accomplishments, it is their overall development as a complete person that we’re most proud of. Not only do our golfers excel academically, but they grow in so many positive ways due to the amazing culture at ACU. This leads to a high level of satisfaction with their college experience resulting in a 100% graduation rate and perfect APR score.”
ACU men’s cross country and tennis extended their streaks to a second year, while women’s tennis is a first-time honoree. ACU’s four honored programs ranked second to Central Arkansas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi among all Southland Conference institutions. The Bears and Islanders tied for the league lead with five awards.
Previous Wildcat recipients of this award include women’s cross country, soccer and volleyball.
The NCAA has recognized more than 1,300 programs from 321 schools for academic excellence after they scored in the top 10% of their sports in the most recent Academic Progress Rate results.
The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams.
Largely as a result of an increase in perfect scores, teams earning Public Recognition Awards increased to 1,328, up by 44 from the previous academic year. APRs for programs in the top 10% ranged from 987 to a perfect 1,000, and the number of teams posting perfect scores increased to 1,214, marking an increase of 26 teams from last year.
Of the teams recognized, 471 competed in men’s or mixed sports, and 857 competed in women’s sports.
“Congratulations to the programs earning Public Recognition Awards for their commitment to academic success,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “The number of perfect scores this year is an indication that schools and student-athletes are setting high bars for achievement, and we are proud that they are continuing to succeed academically as well as athletically.”
APR scores for all Division I teams will be released May 8. The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or academic term and provides a clear picture of the ongoing academic performance for each team in every sport. All teams must meet an academic threshold of 930 to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance.
The most recent APRs are multiyear rates based on scores from the 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.