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UNC, NC State struggle in men’s basketball, football Academic Progress Rate

By Andrew Carter
acarter@newsobserver.com
Miami Ohio NC State Basketball
Karl DeBlaker - AP
Both UNC and N.C. State can blame, in part, relatively high levels of attrition for their low scores in basketball and football. N.C. State’s 2012-13 score of 868 in men’s basketball, for instance, can be traced in part to the departures of Lorenzo Brown, left, and C.J. Leslie, right, both of whom left school to enter the NBA draft. Rodney Purvis, center, a freshman on that team, also transferred at the end of the season.

North Carolina and N.C. State share the dubious distinction of being the poorest-scoring schools in the ACC in men’s basketball and football Academic Progress Rate, which the NCAA released Wednesday.

UNC has the worst four-year APR score in the ACC in men’s basketball (938) and football (938), while N.C. State had the worst scores in both sports for the 2012-13 academic year – the most recent one for which figures are available.

The NCAA created the APR as a way to measure a team’s academic progress each semester. Athletes who receive an athletic scholarship receive points for staying in school and remaining academically eligible. A team’s points are divided by the number of points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to generate an APR score.

The relatively low basketball and football scores at UNC and N.C. State will not result in penalties, though they could if the scores remain poor. Penalties for low APR scores include reduced practice time, a reduction in games and coaching suspensions.

During the 2014-15 academic year, teams must also earn a four-year APR score of 930 – or a two-year score of 940 – to compete in NCAA championship events such as the NCAA basketball tournament. After next year, teams must have a four-year score of 930 to compete in the postseason.

UNC and N.C. State can blame, in part, relatively high levels of attrition for their low scores in basketball and football. N.C. State’s 2012-13 score of 868 in men’s basketball, for instance, can be traced in part to the departures of Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie, both of whom left school to enter the NBA draft. Richard Howell, a senior on that team, did not graduate, which also negatively affected N.C. State’s score.

UNC’s multiyear basketball score has also been affected by early departures and transfers. The transfers after 2010 and 2011 of David and Travis Wear, and Larry Drew II, are still affecting UNC’s score.

“Certainly there’s cause for concern, but I think that coach (Roy) Williams has continued to recruit good students,” UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said during a telephone interview. “And we do look at it. We look at it very closely, and we try to make sure we’re staying on track.”

A basketball team’s APR can be negatively affected when a player leaves school without fulfilling his academic obligations during the spring semester. A player who leaves school early to enter the draft might drop out of his classes to begin draft preparations, and in that scenario the team’s APR would suffer.

Despite its score of 868 last season in men’s basketball, N.C. State’s four-year score of 959 ranks ninth in the conference.

Duke was among the ACC’s leaders in men’s basketball APR. Its four-year average of 995 leads the conference along with Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, both of which also have a 995 for their four-year average.

Duke scored a perfect 1,000 in men’s basketball for the 2012-13 academic year. Five other teams, including Wake Forest, also had a single-year APR of 1,000 in men’s basketball.

Duke also led the league in four-year football APR, with a 992, followed by Georgia Tech and Clemson at 983. Though UNC ranked last in four-year APR in football, its single-season scores have improved in each of the past three years, going from 895 in 2010-11 to 971 in 2012-13.

For the third consecutive year, no ACC team in any sport is subject to APR penalties. All 59 of the conference’s baseball, football and men’s and women’s basketball teams exceeded the required four-year APR score of 930 to remain eligible for the postseason.

Carter: 919-829-8944; Twitter: @_andrewcarter
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