MTSU puts the student first in student-athletes

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Once again, the MTSU athletic department showed it puts the student in student-athlete as all 17 sports on campus passed the multi-year Academic Progress Rate for the fifth consecutive year.

The NCAA mandates each sport on each camp in all athletic programs must achieve at least a multi-year score of 930, or the team could face punishment. The good news is the Blue Raiders are in the clear for another academic year.

“The academic and athletic success of our programs reflects the commitment to excel in the classroom and at winning championships from (MTSU President) Dr. (Sidney) McPhee on down,” said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. “We have hard-working student-athletes that have dedicated themselves to academics and athletics on a daily basis, and that is a foundation for success. Our emphasis on the importance of both areas enables our programs to compete for championships year after year while continuously achieving academic success.”

Here is how the process works according to the NCAA: Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year. Scholarship student-athletes each semester receive one point for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or graduating. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face consequences, including practice restrictions and playing season reductions. Rates are an average of past four years’ performance (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13).National aggregates are based on all teams with usable data at the time of analysis.

The highest Blue Raider score was a perfect 1,000 by both the men’s and women’s golf teams, while the lowest was a 939 by the women’s cross-country team. However, it is still a great accomplish by all of the teams on campus in passing the test.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of teams, especially fans of certain programs in the nation, who could care less about the APR. Their attitude is as long as the team is winning, they could care less if they were going to class and passing their courses.

Every student, athlete or non-athlete, is going to college to gain an education. However, some people lose sight of that focus, and they treat their favorite college team as professionals, even through it’s not true. The attitude needs to change, and I know the NCAA tries to get the message across about being a student-athlete.

So, hopefully with the APR score for each team at each campus, the message will be sent loud and clear. I just wish the punishments were more consistent, regardless of how much money or how popular a certain team is on the particular campus. For example, two football programs that are not very popular around the nation, UNLV and Idaho, received bowl bans for low APR scores this season.

However, Oklahoma State, which has been in the running for a national title during the last few seasons, only lost a weekly practice day because it barely missed the 930 passing APR score, according to NBC Sports Talk. If you are going to punish these schools for missing the mark, please do it fairly across the board and stop worrying about making a certain fan base upset.

The NCAA banned the Connecticut men’s basketball team from postseason play a couple of years ago because of its low APR score. Look now at the Huskies, who won national championship this year. So, programs can recover from penalties.
In the meantime, the Blue Raider athletic department should be proud of all of its student-athletes for once again passing the APR. MTSU is one of the few schools in the nation, which puts the student in student-athlete first and not the other way around.


MTSU APR scores by sport
Baseball: 970
Men’s Basketball: 981
Women’s Basketball: 982
Men’s Cross-Country: 989
Women’s Cross-Country: 939
Football: 972
Men’s Golf: 1000
Women’s Golf: 1000
Men’s Indoor Track: 976
Women’s Indoor Track: 976
Men’s Outdoor Track: 972
Women’s Outdoor Track: 974
Soccer: 989
Softball: 968
Men’s Tennis: 983
Women’s Tennis: 983
Volleyball: 984

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