NCAA honors 2 MTSU teams for student-athletes̵...

NCAA honors 2 MTSU teams for student-athletes’ academic work

INDIANAPOLIS–Two Middle Tennessee State University athletic programs again are in elite company after earning Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA for student-athlete academic progress.

Blue Raider football and men’s golf were recognized June 14 by the awards, which are based on the teams’ most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates, or APR. This marks the second straight year both MTSU programs have been honored by the NCAA.

The awards are given each year to teams with APRs in the top 10 percent in each sport. The Blue Raiders join Florida Atlantic as the only Sun Belt programs to have more than one sport honored.

“This speaks to our institution’s commitment from Dr. (Sidney) McPhee on down for how we balance academics and championships,” said MTSU Director of Athletics Chris Massaro.

“This success is made possible by the dedication and hard work of the student-athletes, who have the pressure of balancing academics and the demands of athletics on a daily basis. It is gratifying to know that we win our league’s all-sports trophy each year and continue to excel in the classroom.”

The Blue Raiders were one of just 12 FBS football programs honored by the NCAA: Air Force, Boise State, Clemson, Duke, Miami of Florida, MTSU, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rice, Rutgers and Vanderbilt. Eight of the honorees are from automatic qualifying conferences, and four are from nonautomatic qualifying leagues.

“We take academics very seriously at Middle Tennessee, and to be honored for a second straight year is a credit to our student-athletes,” said Rick Stockstill, MTSU head football coach. “Our goal and main priority is for each student-athlete to leave here with a degree in hand.”

Through its innovative APR, which provides an annual scorecard of academic achievement, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I sports team. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.

Full APR scores for all teams, including penalties for low-performing teams, will be released June 20.

The 954 teams publicly recognized this year for high achievement included 560 women’s teams and 394 men’s or mixed squads.

A total of 263 institutions, out of 347 Division I colleges and universities, placed at least one team on the top APR list. Another eight schools that offer athletics in more than one division, out of 49 overall within the NCAA, placed Division I teams on the list as well.

In the seven years of the NCAA’s academic reform program, 2,946 different teams have received Public Recognition Awards, representing 46 percent of eligible sports teams during that time. Of that total, 209 teams have received Public Recognition Awards each of the seven years of the program.