Sun Belt member institutions showed continued progress with Wednesday's release of the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores and the future of the league's APR scores looks bright as well.
In 2011, the Division I Board of Directors voted to move the minimum academic standard for postseason participation from 900 to 930. Additionally, the previous benchmark score of 925 that could result in sanctions will also change to 930.
The new postseason eligibility structure will take effect in the 2012-13 academic year, with a two-year implementation window before the benchmark moves from 900 to 930. For access to postseason competition in 2012-13 and 2013-14, teams must achieve a 900 multi-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years to be eligible.
Fortunately for the Sun Belt, the good news is that 94 percent of current member institutions are already scoring at or above the 930 mark.
The most recent APR scores are multi-year rates based on the scores from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.
With the additions of Georgia State, Texas-Arlington and Texas State to the Sun Belt Conference in July of 2013 and the departures of Denver in 2012, as well as FIU and North Texas in 2013, the league still stands with 94 percent of members at or above the 930 mark.
The good news is that a large majority of our current and future members are performing well in APR and we continue to trend upward in our scores, said Sun Belt Assistant Commissioner for Compliance Scott Connors. While the benchmarks for APR are elevating, our scores are elevating also. As the new standards come into effect our schools are committed to meeting the demands.
In 2014-15, teams must either meet a four-year APR of 930 or a 940 average for the two most recent years to avoid possible postseason ineligibility.
The intermediate benchmarks are completely eliminated in 2015-16, with the multi-year score of 930 being the sole benchmark for all penalties, including postseason ineligibility.