USM sports teams receive passing grade from NCAA

USM sports teams receive passing grade from NCAA
The University of Southern Mississippi's 15 sports programs received a passing grade from the National Collegiate Athletic Association in last week's Academic Progress Report. (Source: Southern Miss)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi’s 15 sports teams all received a passing grade in a report released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

But only a third of USM’s teams equaled or surpassed the national average for their respective sports in the most recent Academic Progress Report.

Men’s golf, tennis and baseball and women’s beach volleyball posted higher scores than the national average, while women’s tennis matched it.

USM’s other 10 sports, including football and men’s and women’s basketball, surpassed the cutoff score of 930, which would have made any that had qualified eligible for postseason participation.

The APR was born 15 years ago to provide more of a real-time measurement of academic success than graduation rates.

Scholarship student-athletes earn one point each term for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or graduating.

Every Division I sports team submits data to have its APR calculated each academic year. The NCAA reports both single-year and four-year rates.

Last week’s figures took into consideration data from 2015-16 through 2018-19 for the four-year period.

The 930-cutoff figure was selected because that score predicts, on average, a 50 percent graduation rate for teams.

Programs falling below the cutoff are subject to a series of penalties, with postseason exclusion the most severe.

For the 2020-21 school year, 15 teams will be ineligible to play in the postseason based on academic achievement between 2015-16 and 2018-19, an increase of seven teams from the previous year

Another six teams face penalties, such as practice or season reductions

Half of USM’s men’s sports saw higher scores from the previous year, including golf (plus 15), track (plus eight) and football (plus four).

On the women’s side, beach volleyball scored a perfect 1,000 score in its first year, while soccer (plus 12) and women’s basketball (plus 10) showed the largest single-year gains.

Sports USM (2018) USM (2019) NCAA average/teams per sport (2019) USM vs. NCAA average
Men’s
Tennis 978 992 983 (251) +14
Golf 978 992 987 (299) +6
Baseball 991 981 977 (298) +4
Track 953 961 974 (288) -13
Football 941 945 964 (130) -19
Basketball 941 936 966 (352) -30
Women’s
Beach Volleyball NA 1,000 992 (47) +8
Tennis 991 991 991 (310) _
Soccer 975 987 990 (335) -3
Cross Country 988 984 989 (349) -5
Track 991 983 984 (339) -1
Volleyball 984 979 988 (334) -9
Softball 983 978 986 (296) -8
Golf 974 976 992 (268) -16
Basketball 952 962 983 (350) -21

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