NCAA academic tracking needs improvement

Board of Opinions

On Tuesday, Georgia Southern University’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores were released, and GSU’s scores have improved from the 2011-2012 academic year.  APR tracks the academic progress of student athletes by giving them points. Two points are given to athletes in the fall and spring semester; one point is for remaining eligibility and the other point is given for continued enrollment in an institution.

This system does not truly reveal much about athletes and their academic progress, but there are consequences for not meeting the correct amount of points, and these consequences can range from various restrictions on scholarships and requirements to post-season bans. The APR simply measures the eligibility and retention of students and only includes students that are receiving athletic financial aid, which is not all of the varsity athletics that take place at GSU.

While it is important that GSU meets the APR score requirements, the NCAA should find a better way of measuring the academic standards of student athletes.  The APR claims that its goal is to aid student athletes academically so that they might graduate with meaningful degrees that prepare them for life beyond the classroom. However, the APR does not truly measure the academic achievements by athletes because it does not measure actual academic grades.  In addition, the APR is flawed because comparing universities based on its APR score is useless because the academic rigor of each university varies.  The NCAA needs to form a new system that emphasizes actual academic success and GPA’s, rather than an athlete’s retention and eligibility, in order to effectively measure the academic progress of a university.