TOWSON, Md. – Towson University will not be eligible for men’s basketball postseason play on the NCAA or Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) levels for the 2012-13 season based on the team’s past cumulative NCAA Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores. The ban is a one-year penalty and applies only for the 2012-13 season.
The final ruling comes after several appeals to the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance (CAP). Under new rules passed by CAP in October of 2011, schools may be banned from postseason play if their four-year APR score is below 900 or their two-year score is below 930. The 2012-13 penalty is based on APR scores recorded in the four-year period of 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11. During this four-year space Towson’s four-year APR score was 873.
The APR is a measurement used by the NCAA to judge a team’s academic performance and projected graduation probability. Schools lose APR points if student-athletes fail to graduate, become academically ineligible or leave the program. Schools can have a point waived from their annual score if a student-athlete chooses to transfer to a four-year college and has a GPA of 2.6 or better.
As it currently stands, Towson looks to make a leap forward in 2011-12 by over 100 points as it will post a score of 938 or higher – up from 800 in 2010-11.
Towson President Maravene Loeschke said, “I am very proud of the hard work that the department of athletics has done in the past year to address this issue. Although I am disappointed in the ruling by the NCAA, I am confident that our new leadership and staff will have the Tigers competing for championships.”
“Towson University is an outstanding academic institution and has high academic standards for all of our students,” said Towson Director of Athletics Mike Waddell. “President Maravene Loeschke and I support academic reform which the NCAA is pursuing with its newly detailed APR legislation, but we are disappointed that our appeals have been denied and the critical specifics of our case were not recognized. The legislation which was passed last fall and quickly implemented for the upcoming 2012-13 season was done so without an opportunity for Towson’s new athletics administration and coaching staff to take corrective measures which impact our score, which we have done. The end result is that this penalty will negatively affect a group of student-athletes who were not responsible for the deficient academic performance of past student-athletes, coaches and administrators, all of whom are no longer associated with Towson University.”
APR scores are posted annually in late spring/early summer and as such, all sports, regardless of their competitive season, are judged in the same time frame. APR scores for the 2011-12 academic year will not be official until classes convene in September and retention points are awarded. Therefore, the most recent performance (2011-12) is not calculated into the scores that are being used to determine the penalties for next year’s team.
Changes in University leadership, athletics leadership, or specific team coaching leadership were specifically mentioned as not being contributing factors to low APR scores.
Since April of 2010, Towson Athletics as a whole has overseen a transformation regarding academics with the implementation of a comprehensive class attendance policy for all sports. Specifically with the men’s basketball program, a new coach and staff have been hired. There have been major changes in the department’s academic achievement area where two (2) dedicated full-time staff members have been hired, a new Director of Student-Athlete Development has joined the staff, and a shared departmental position, the Director of the Total Tiger Program, which aids in the resolution of student-athlete issues on both a personal and team level.
“One year ago, we made a significant shift in the direction of our men’s basketball program by deciding to make a change in the head coach,” continued Waddell. “The turnover in the staff led to turnover among the student-athletes as well. The young people were looking for what they thought would be the right move in their best interest whether at Towson, or elsewhere, and we have been completely supportive of their decisions. We try to do what is always in the best interest of the student-athlete over the long haul. Some of those decisions have negatively affected our APR score.
“While this penalty is coming for the 2012-13 season it is critical that all realize that the student-athletes and coaches who are serving this postseason ban had no part in the actions which led to the punishment,” Waddell continued. “Everything around our program has been mapped out to promote academic and athletic success and we will push forward with our heads held high.”
“Once the transition was complete, newly-named head coach Pat Skerry embarked on a long-term plan to rebuild the program on the court, which was coupled with a comprehensive plan by our enhanced academic achievement staff to improve results in the classroom. Despite the hardships on the floor last year, our combined leadership has introduced a culture of discipline and hard work which has resulted in significant improvement in the team’s overall GPA and APR score. We are confident those same efforts will result in a championship program that Towson University will be proud to call its own.”
Head men’s basketball coach Pat Skerry said, “We will always place academic progress and success at the top of our priorities when it comes to our Basketball Program. I am very proud of our team’s academic results this year. Our student-athletes, athletics staff and administration put in a lot of time to make it happen. We will continue to build a program that is built on toughness, hard work and dedication. Those core values will take our program to the top.”
In December 2011 Towson University decided that the men’s basketball program would proactively reduce the NCAA-allowable 20 hours of practice each week by 20 percent to allow for additional targeted academic support time.
Based on the current legislation the program will not lose any of its 13 scholarships moving ahead.
Waddell said that the NCAA’s denial of the appeal should not minimize the extraordinary academic performance of the current members of the men’s basketball program.
“Since I arrived at Towson, we have required a high level of academic achievement from all of our student-athletes,” said Waddell. “We have maintained a department GPA above 3.0, had 53 percent of our young people earn better than a 3.0 GPA and another 107 student-athletes qualified for the Dean’s List in the recently completed spring semester. We are committed to doing things beyond the minimum requirements set forth by the NCAA and continue to take additional steps to improve the performance of each of our student-athletes in the classroom. We EXPECT SUCCESS on and off the field and that will never change.”
Towson Men's Basketball Year APR and GPA (2007-11)
|2011-12 *||938-plus ^||2.852|
* - Pat Skerry’s first season at Towson
^ - projected
NCAA APR “Cut Point” For Post-Season Ban: Two-Year: 930; Four-Year: 900
Towson Men’s Basketball Four-Year APR Score (2007-11): 873
Towson Men’s Basketball Two-Year APR Score (2009-11): 820
2010-11 APR Scores and GPAs for Towson Athletics Programs:
|Sport||Single Year APR||Multi Year APR||2011-12 GPA|
|Women's Cross Country||1000||1000||3.395|
|Women's Indoor Track||1000||983||3.30|
|Women's Outdoor Track||1000||989||3.30|