May 15: Gophers' athletic teams score well in the classroom

The Gophers athletics department received passing scores and then some when the NCAA released its latest Academic Progress Rates (APR) report Wednesday.

All 25 Gophers teams exceeded the 930 multi-year score required to avoid penalties such as a loss of scholarships.

The men’s basketball and hockey teams were among 18 Gophers programs that recorded perfect 1,000 scores for the 2012-13 school year. The Gophers football program posted a 994 score for 2012-13, matching its previous best mark from the year prior.

The annual APR report offers a snapshot of each program’s academic success, with a formula based on the percentage of athletes who remain academically eligible and stay in school. The latest NCAA multi-year numbers examine the school years from 2009-10 through 2012-13.

In 2009, under then-coach Tim Brewster, the Gophers football team lost three scholarships when it posted a 915 multi-year APR. The team’s latest multi-year APR score is 962, still near the bottom of the Big Ten.

The Gophers men’s basketball team’s latest multi-year score of 960 is up from 955 last year but is third-to-last in the Big Ten.

The football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey programs aren’t the only ones at Minnesota doing better academically. Twenty-two of the Gophers’ 25 programs maintained or improved multi-year APR scores reported this year over last year.

Nine programs posted perfect 1,000 multi-year scores, three men’s programs: baseball, gymnastics, and tennis; and six women’s: cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball.

Last week, the NCAA honored those nine programs — along with Gophers men’s track and field, wrestling and women’s basketball — with APR public recognition awards, for scoring among the top 10 percent of the programs in their sport.

That meant the Gophers had 12 of 25 teams (48 percent) recognized with APR awards. Among the Football Bowl Subdivision institutions, only Northwestern (63 percent), Notre Dame (58) and Duke (54) had a higher percentage.

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