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APR scores released; Marquette eighth in Big East

Junior Cadougan poses for a photo with Marquette's coaching staff after graduation. (Courtesy: Marquette Athletics via Twitter)

Junior Cadougan poses for a photo with Marquette’s coaching staff after graduation. (Courtesy: Marquette Athletics via Twitter)

The academic side of Marquette’s men’s basketball declined slightly as the NCAA released its Academic Progress Rate (APR) numbers on Tuesday, showing Marquette dropped from 970 to 960 out of a possible 1000.

Before we get much further let’s get this out of the way. I couldn’t tell you what exactly APR measures or how its compiled. For our purposes, all you need to know is that APR is the way the NCAA decides who is ineligible to compete in postseason play.

Here is a description of those magic numbers straight from the horse’s mouth:

“In order to compete in the 2013-14 postseason, teams must achieve a 900 multi-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years. The same standard was in place for the 2012-13 academic year. This standard will increase to a multi-year 930, which predicts to a Graduation Success Rate of approximately 50 percent, or a 940 two-year average APR for the 2014-15 postseason.”

As I’ve already plead my ignorance to the matter, I found this Tweet from LateNightHoops.com writer J.B. Bauer very helpful.

The big takeaway from the numbers are that although Marquette is still doing well academically and isn’t in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament the next two years, its APR scores have been on the decline.

Again I’m not expert so here is Wikipedia’s breakdown of how exactly the number is attained:

“Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one retention point for staying in school and one eligibility point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by the points possible and then multiplied by one thousand to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate score. Example: A Division I Football Bowl Subdivision team awards the full complement of 85 grants-in-aid. If 80 student-athletes remain in school and academically eligible, three remain in school but are academically ineligible and two drop out academically ineligible, the team earns 163 of 170 possible points for that term. Divide 163 by 170 and multiply by 1,000 to determine that the team’s Academic Progress Rate for that term is 959.”

The big thing to keep in mind is that this year’s number doesn’t simply pertain to this year’s graduating class. Athletes have a window of time to complete their degree past when their eligibility expires. That makes it tough to measure future scores.

Again, the Golden Eagles, though on a downward trend, are not in perilous condition, barring a mass exodus of academically ineligible players.

As I was curious to how that stacked up against the Big East, I charted the teams and their multi-year averages.

Team Score
Butler 1000
DePaul 984
Villanova 978
Creighton 971
Georgetown 966
Xavier 965
Seton Hall 963
Marquette 960
St. John’s 941
Providence 915

Marquette ranked eighth, putting it near the bottom of Big East teams. Not great, but not the end of the world by any means. More worrisome is the 915 APR number of Providence. With the minimum number needed rising to 930  in 2014-15 postseason, it is looking very likely that the Friars will be barred from dancing in 2015. In fact, the Friars have been under the threshold the past three years, falling from 925 to 915. Something to definitely keep an eye on.

(In case you were curious, Marquette would have finished 9th out of 15 in last season’s Big East. Syracuse may start sweating as their multi-year APR is at 933)

Marquette will most likely be near the top of the standings on the basketball side of things next season, and it would be nice to see the academic side there as well. Only 11 points separate the Golden Eagles from fourth. The biggest thing will be to get the multi-year trending in a positive direction.

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