Every Gophers athletics team received passing marks Tuesday, when the NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) report, and basketball guard Malik Smith moved one step closer to gaining immediate eligibility after transferring from Florida International University.
FIU’s men’s basketball team received a one-year postseason ban for posting a multi-year APR score of 858, well below the 900 cutoff point. Athletes who transfer from a team that is banned from the postseason can get a waiver from the NCAA to compete at their new school without having to sit out a year.
The Gophers have filed for that waiver on Smith’s behalf. He averaged 14.1 points as a junior last season for FIU and set a single-season school record by making 96 three pointers.
The latest NCAA multi-year numbers examine the school years from 2008-09 to 2011-12. FIU is paying the price for academic struggles under Isiah Thomas, the coach who preceded Richard Pitino.
Pitino has been credited for helping turn around FIU academically, as well as on the court, before becoming the new Gophers coach.
The annual APR offers a snapshot of how each college team is performing academically.
In 2009, under then-coach Tim Brewster, the Gophers football team lost three scholarships when it posted a 915 APR.
Last year, the football team narrowly avoided penalties for falling below 930, posting a Big Ten low score of 932. But this year, the football team had the biggest gain of any athletic program at the university, rising to 955, which ranked tied for ninth in the Big Ten.
The men’s basketball team also posted a 955 APR, which ranked 10th in the Big Ten.
Five Gophers teams received perfect 1,000 scores — baseball, men’s tennis, women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics and women’s soccer.
The men’s hockey team was at 987.