NEWS! HEY GUYS, REAL NEWS! AN ACTUAL THING HAPPENED! WHEEEEEE!
The NCAA released its APR scores for the FBS today, and first things first: Iowa is safe. Iowa and Penn State tied for sixth in the Big Ten with a score of 961 out of 1000, which is well above the threshold of a score of 900. Scores below 900 invalidate a program for the postseason, and two-year running averages below 930 carry the same consequence. So Iowa's 961 effectively takes the two-year infraction off the table, since the only way Iowa could get there is if its score were bad enough to fall below the baseline for that year anyway. Get what we mean?
Iowa's 961 score tops the average NCAA football program's score of 949, and while it's not exemplary, it does mean that the school is graduating its athletes at a rate that the NCAA is trying to encourage from all of its members. So it's good to see that grades are not a problem in Iowa City.
Iowa men's basketball, by the way, is at a four-year average of 953. A little worse but still fine—and the best it's been in Fran McCaffrey's tenure.
A few other quick notes:
- Northwestern football leads the Big Ten and the nation with a 996 score, which is so close to perfect that it's probably driving everyone in charge at Northwestern absolutely crazy that they didn't hit 1000. Like, Northwestern led the nation in APR and they're still probably more upset about their score than two-thirds of the Big Ten. Meanwhile, the middle of the road feels just fine! (kicks feet up) (smokes a joint) (gets a C)
- This isn't a score that measures only academic eligibility (though that's a major factor); also involved is actually graduating the student-athletes, and a failure to do so can and will harm a program's score. But according to the NCAA, a score of 930 "predicts to a Graduation Success Rate of approximately 50 percent" (emphasis ours). Graduating 50 percent of your guys gets an APR score of 930 out of 1000? Holy grade inflation, Batmark Emmert! If half the team's players get expelled for drawing wieners on their final exam Scantrons, what APR does the team get? Does that even drop you below an 800?
- We don't write this blog with the expressed intent of trolling Iowa State and its fans—that's Little Brother stuff—but a 928 score is, how you say, not good. The sanctions haven't come yet, but clearly ISU needs to get its house in order ASAP (and by "house in order" we mean, like, one more guy graduating on time).
- The Big Ten led all power conferences in average APR this year, because sometimes Gordon Gee's stupid, catty remarks are based in a whole lot of truth. Similarly, Michigan's score of 951 was the lowest in the Big Ten—and the highest low score in any power conference this year. The Big Ten is basically the Damien Sandow of the BCS.
- This does, of course, create an extrinsic incentive to graduate players—for postseason eligibility. While that seems like a noble, worthwhile pursuit (indeed, you don't want to see the NCAA just not care about this, do you?), there is now added pressure on the programs and, one would assume, their academic support staffs to keep players eligible by any means necessary. We're not saying there's any evidence of increased academic propriety; we're merely saying that the motive has been enhanced. As long as there are independent internal reviews going on, though, hopefully that won't be a serious issue. Academic integrity is kind of a big deal to these universities, after all.