NCAA penalizes Orange men’s basketball due to failure to meet Academic Progress standards

first_imgThe early exits of Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris were supposed to have a different kind of effect on the Syracuse men’s basketball program. Left for dead after the trio departed last spring, the Orange didn’t miss a beat on the court or in the win column this past season. But on Wednesday, Jim Boeheim’s program finally took a hit from their departure. One year after the three left SU to pursue professional careers prior to exhausting their collegiate eligibility, the Syracuse men’s basketball program was penalized following Wednesday’s release of the NCAA’s latest annual Academic Progress Rate report. After failing to meet the minimum academic standards required by the APR, the men’s basketball program was docked two scholarships. The APR measures the classroom performance of every Division I team. The SU men’s basketball team scored 912, below the necessary 925, for the first time in program history. In a statement on the university’s athletic web site, Boeheim suggested the primary reason for the low performance was due to Flynn, Devendorf and Harris leaving school early. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We have always been above the APR standard since it was implemented,’ he said in the statement. ‘We had three students leave school early to pursue professional basketball careers last spring, and that is difficult to overcome.’Along with Colorado, Syracuse was just one of two basketball schools from BCS conferences that failed to meet the academic standards. Colorado lost one scholarship in men’s basketball and five in football. Last year, the men’s basketball teams at Purdue, Ohio State, Tennessee, Indiana and Georgia Tech lost scholarships.Boeheim said in a statement that in anticipation of the restrictions, his program already took the scholarship penalty during the 2009-10 academic year. This season, the Orange had just 11 players on scholarship, two fewer than the NCAA maximum of 13. In the previous three years, the basketball program has received APR scores of 948, 955 and 932, respectively. Boeheim said he anticipates the team will be back above the APR standard when the next report is compiled.The NCAA annually calculates an APR for every team at every Division I school, using data collected over a rolling four-year period. Teams can receive two points per player, one for retaining the athlete in school and another if the athlete makes successful progress toward a degree that year.A team’s APR can drop if a player leaves school while in poor academic standing. NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson hinted in an email to The Daily Orange that early defections to the NBA aren’t necessarily a legitimate excuse for low performance. In fact, he said, the APR program allows for student-athletes to leave early to play professionally without their school being penalized. ‘If a student-athlete is in good academic standing and leaves school early to pursue a professional career in athletics, the team receives one point for academic achievement but is not penalized a retention point,’ Christianson said. ‘In other words, the team receives 100 percent of the points available and the team is not penalized.’Following the 2004-05 academic year, for example, North Carolina surpassed the academic threshold despite losing four players early to the NBA draft. Other schools in the past — including Duke following the 2001-02 academic year — have had multiple players depart the program early and have avoided being penalized.Despite the performance of the men’s basketball program, 13 of 19 Syracuse athletic teams recorded an APR that rated higher than the national average in their respective sports. The Orange men’s and women’s cross country teams both recorded a perfect score of 1,000, ranking in the top 10 percent nationally for the fourth year in a row. Additionally, more than 57 percent of Syracuse’s student-athletes achieved at least a 3.0 grade point average during the spring semester. The grade point average of the 557 student-athletes during the spring semester was 3.01.‘Our student-athletes continue to perform exceptionally in the classroom,’ Gross said in a statement. ‘We are proud of their academic accomplishments and the continued success as far as graduating and performing at the highest level of NCAA competition. It’s good to know we remain one of the top institutions in the country as far as academics and athletic performance combined.’aljohn@syr.edu— Asst. Copy Editor Michael Cohen contributed reporting to this story. Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on June 9, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more