It's no secret that we here at CGB take pride in the academic prestige of UC Berkeley... to the point where some of our faithful readers have criticized our periodic self–horn tootery every time another study highlights Cal as the world's best public university.
But is there any Cal fan out there who enjoyed being the laughing stock of the conference when Cal Football's APR was among the worst of the nation? Is the school's renewed focus on academics something we can all support, both new fans and Old Blues?
As was projected back in January, our football team's single-season APR for 2014–15 is officially a score of 997, which is pretty darn close to a perfect score of 1000. This is a big improvement over Dykes's first two APRs (968 and 946) and leaps and bounds over the years of 920s and 930s with Jeff Tedford. This would also satisfy the academic half of the requirements of the famous clause in Dykes's contract that would automatically renew his contract for a single-year APR exceeding 980 (with at least seven wins).
Cal football's four-year APR is now at 960, the highest it has been since 2008–09.
Cal basketball had amazing results as well, registering a perfect score! 13 programs in all received perfect marks.
A record 13 of 25 measured intercollegiate athletic teams from the University of California, Berkeley's posted scores of 1,000 - the highest possible - on their 2014-15 Academic Progress Rates, including men's basketball, while the Golden Bear football program registered a score of 997, according to the latest data released by the NCAA.
"This latest APR report shows that the great majority of our teams and student-athletes continue to perform very well in the classroom," Director of Athletics Mike Williams said. "It is a testament to their hard work and dedication to their academic pursuits to witness such consistently high scores. In addition, for those sports where we had been deficient in recent years, we are seeing the tangible results of systems and culture changes we have put in place. Under Sonny Dykes, our football program's trajectory remains on an upward path, and the first-year results for our men's basketball team under Cuonzo Martin couldn't be any better."
The rise in scores, particularly for the football and men's basketball teams, continues a trend that began with the hiring of head coaches Dykes and Martin. After successive one-year scores under 930 in the two years before Dykes arrived on campus, the past three rates for the football program have been 969, 946 and now 997 to lift the squad's four-year APR average to 960 - its highest since 2008-09. Cal's 997 APR ties for the highest in the Pac-12 for the 2014-15 academic year.
"The success of our student-athletes is a team effort that starts with Chancellor Dirks giving us the support we need, our Director of Athletics Mike Williams understanding how important it us to provide academic resources for our students and so many others making critical contributions," Dykes said. "There's been a change in the culture of our program and I'm really proud of our student-athletes in so many different ways. I'm proud of who they are, what they stand for, their work ethic and how they emphasize academics. It's fun to watch our student-athletes have success in the classroom because you know it's going to lead to success in life and make them better citizens when they graduate from Cal. I'm really excited about what they have accomplished and am already looking forward to next year when we should continue the upward trajectory with even stronger academic numbers."
While Martin has overseen Cal's men's basketball program for a shorter period of time, the 1,000 APR score for the 2014-15 academic year reflects the rate for his first full year in Berkeley. Like football, men's basketball saw its four-year APR rise to 960, also its highest score in seven years.
Three Cal teams - men's tennis, women's tennis and women's volleyball - received NCAA Public Recognition Awards for posting four-year APR averages of 1,000 in an announcement last week. Men's tennis earned the honor as for the seventh year in a row, women's tennis, which has been ranked as the No. 1 team in the country for much of the season, was honored for the sixth consecutive year, and volleyball picked up the distinction for the fourth time in its history.
In addition to men's basketball, the other programs with 1,000 APR scores for 2014-15 were: men's and women's cross country, women's golf, men's gymnastics, women's lacrosse, men's soccer, men's swimming & diving, men's and women's tennis, women's volleyball, and men's and women's water polo. Five other teams scored at least 990, giving the Bears 18 of 25 programs above the threshold.
Looking at four-year averages, six sports showed an improvement of 10 or more points from previous reporting period, led by football's +19 and a +16 from women's track & field. Among other teams, men's swimming & diving rose 15 points and women's basketball was up 13 points. A total of 15 teams produced multi-year APRs of 975 or higher, with nine at or above 985.
Every year, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every officially sanctioned NCAA Division I team through the annual scorecard of academic achievement, known as APR. The rate accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance. Created in 2003 by the NCAA to provide an annual "real-time" sport-by-sport snapshot of the academic performance of student-athletes, APR reporting also includes a four-year average in addition to the most recent one-year average. The four-year APR results reported Wednesday include the 2011-12 through 2014-15 academic years, while the one-year APR result reported accounts for 2014-15.