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UNC Posts Some Stellar APR Numbers

Alternate headline: UNC Does Well in Metric Universally Dismissed as Not Having Much Meaning

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA relaased the latest Academic Progress Rate numbers and UNC performed well across the board.

Full release from UNC

Seventeen University of North Carolina varsity athletic teams posted a four-year Academic Progress Rate of 980 or higher and four other teams were within four points of that score, according to figures released today by the NCAA. Overall, UNC’s 28 teams averaged 981, three points above the national average.

The Tar Heels had six programs that scored a perfect 1000 and another five that scored 990 or higher.

Nineteen of Carolina’s sports exceeded the national multi-year average for their respective sports.

The NCAA tracks classroom performance of student-athletes through the APR. The score measures eligibility and retention each semester at every NCAA institution. The APRs released on Wednesday are four-year rates that reflect scores from the 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.

UNC’s six programs with a perfect four-year rate of 1000 are men’s tennis, women’s fencing, women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s tennis and volleyball.

The NCAA recognized those teams last week for finishing in the Top 10 percent in the country in their respective sports. The women’s fencing and women’s golf teams earned Top 10 recognition for the 10th time in as many years. They are two of only 129 teams (14 in the ACC) across all NCAA programs that have accomplished that feat. No other public institution in the ACC has more than one team honored in each of the APR’s 10 years.

Men’s cross country, women’s lacrosse, rowing, men’s swimming and diving, and women’s swimming and diving averaged at least 990 over the last four years. Women’s basketball, women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, men’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field measured four-year rates of at least 970.

The NCAA also released the single-year APR scores for 2013-14 (the most recent data available for all schools). Twelve UNC teams scored 1000 or better, including men’s basketball, and 25 of 28 sports scored 970 or better. Carolina’s overall average for 2013-14 was 986, up five points from the previous year and five points better than the national average for all teams of 981.

The dozen Tar Heel teams that scored 1000 in 2013-14 include men’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s fencing, men’s golf, women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and volleyball.

Baseball, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s lacrosse, rowing, women’s soccer, softball, women’s swimming and diving, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field and wrestling scored at least 970 in 2013-14.

Highlights from individual programs from 2013-14 include:

• Baseball recorded its second straight score of 986.

• Men’s basketball (1000) posted its best score since a 1000 in 2008-09.

• Football’s four-year rate of 937 includes an 895 from 2010-11. However, over the last two years, football’s rate is 960.

• Women’s lacrosse had its second 1000 in the last three years.

• Men’s soccer’s 1000 is its best single-season rate.

• Wrestling posted its best score (983) in three seasons.

The full APR report for UNC can be found here.

In simplest terms, the APR is a metric about retention and athletes being in good academic standing. In that respect it's difficult to ascertain if it's really that meaningful as illustrated by Kentucky posting high APRs despite a constant stream of early NBA defections.

All that being said, there are real penalties involved with not hitting a four year average of 930. UNC's men's basketball and football program were actually flirting with that threshold. Last season football and men's basketball both had a multi-year APR of 938. For football the average actually dropped a point to 937 but still above the 930 penalty threshold. Football posted single year APR of 948 for 2013-14 however the 2010-11 single year APR of 895 is an albatross around the neck of the overall average. That number will drop out of the average next year which should lead to the multi-year APR bouncing back.

On the men's basketball side, the APR average has risen to 952 with a pair of single year APRs creating a drag on the multi-year average. A 909 in 2010-11 and a 917 in 2012-13 clearly hurt the average but the single year 1000 for 2013-14 has bolstered the average. It stands to reason the 2014-15 will be fairly high which will further buoy the average.