The 2011-2012 APR scores are in, and the bad news, Bears, is this - Cal's football team still ranks dead last in the Pac-12, with a multiyear average of 935, and a score of 923 for the 2011-2012 year, placing them in between the 20th and 30th percentiles among football programs nationwide.
In short, APR measures a combination of "eligibility, graduation, and retention", and the football team isn't doing a good job of any. If you'd like to check out the damage for yourself, the full statistics are here.
Cal Athletics put out a press release in response to these numbers, highlighting and detailing the progress that has been made under Coach Dykes. Among them:
A combined 21 football players graduated at the end of the recently completed fall and spring semesters and another two are on track to earn their degrees this summer. In addition, the football team's combined GPA for the spring 2013 semester was its highest in at least five years, more than three-tenths of a point above its GPA for spring 2012.
More specifically, under Coach Dykes, the team has done the following to try to turn around its academic situation:
• holding monthly meetings with athletic department leadership, the faculty athletic representative, academic advisors and Coach Dykes to review the team's academic improvement plan;
• increasing the number of academic staff who work directly with the football program to help understand and manage problems before they arise;
• encouraging players to take more challenging classes earlier in their careers to avoid the distractions that can come in a final season that can keep them from finishing their degrees;
• focusing on recruiting prospects who fit in better academically at Cal;
• establishing policies for student-athletes in their final semester that they must graduate or leave school in good academic standing in order to continue to train at the Simpson Center or in Memorial Stadium;
• encouraging former players to return to campus to complete their degree work.
Of course, Cal plays other sports beyond football, and the dire situation that the football program finds itself in should not take away from what the other athletes have accomplished. In particular, the men's tennis team, women's tennis team, and women's gymnastics teams all deserve great recognition, posting perfect APR scores of 1000 over the last year.
The official press release from Cal Athletics has more:
A total of 12 Golden Bear squads had APRs of 985 or better, with five teams above 990. Overall, Cal's average team score was at least 975 for the fourth year in a row, with 13 different teams publicly honored by the NCAA for their APR performances during that span.
After initially posting low results, men's basketball scores have risen in six of the past seven years following the introduction of an academic improvement plan. Softball has also seen its APR scores go up a remarkable 46 points in the last two years to a current value of 965. And while women's basketball's four-year APR average fell to 941, its year-by-year scores have climbed 43 points since 2009 with a higher score anticipated next year, which should produce an improved four-year rate.
A big Go Bears to those student-athletes!
For football, though, there is little doubt that these numbers will fuel an already ongoing debate about whose fault it is, and the later recruiting policies that Coach Tedford allowed. Not much productivity to be found in that discussion though, because the reality of it is this - those players are in the program now, regardless of how they arrived, and in future seasons, Cal must do better to support them. The early steps that are being taken are encouraging, but the numbers must follow. Everyone must do better. Period.
Your thoughts on the APR scores?