Scholarships taken away

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced they will be taking scholarships away from 65 colleges and universities in America.

The main reason for the decision is the Academic Progress Rate, or APR. The APR is a system developed by the NCAA that monitors the academics of every team in Division I athletics.

The NCAA says about 10 percent of the scholarships will be taken away during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

Although the list is dominated by basketball, baseball, and football teams, other sports such as soccer, tennis, track, and wrestling have also been penalized. Florida A&M University, California State University, Prairie View A&M University and Louisiana Tech University are among schools having the most sports affected.

Of schools in the Big East, the conference that St. John’s is a member of, DePaul University’s men’s basketball team, West Virginia’s men’s wrestling team and Rutgers University’s men’s wrestling team all could face penalties for violating rules of the APR. These schools have made changes in their programs to help their student-athletes understand that work in the classroom comes first.

St. John’s University has met and continues to meet the requirements of the Academic Progress Rate. “I think it is a good program that the NCAA is running,” St. John’s Athletic Director, Chris Monasch said. “It clearly rewards schools doing the right thing and it helps keep student-athletes in line in the classroom.”

According to the APR, each team is scored based on a system that measures academic success, with a desired goal of 925. This number is gathered by calculating points each member of a team can achieve. Each athlete on a roster can earn two points, one for being academically eligible, and one for graduating from their institution. For example, if a basketball team has a roster of 18 players, there is a total of 36 possible points to be earned.

Many times, schools fail to reach their required mark. Under the APR system, the total points a team has is divided by its total possible points. If the team received 30 out of 36 points, its score would be 0.0833. This number is then multiplied by 1000 and that final number is the total points that particular team has earned, in this case, 833, a failing score.

After calculating and studying the results of each team, the NCAA decides who should be penalized and to what extremes. Out of the 65 schools being punished, many have seen improvements.

With so many schools being penalized, the Division I Board of Directors has adjusted the APR system in favor of the athletic teams. As of 2005, when an athlete leaves a university early for a professional team, they no longer forfeit their graduation point. These students can earn one total point instead, which helps the school in the future.

As the 2005-06 season comes to an end, the NCAA will reexamine their system and make necessary changes to make sure colleges and universities are following the rules.