Missouri men’s basketball got some much-needed good news Wednesday with the release of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate figures for 2014-15.
The Tigers’ 976 score for coach Kim Anderson’s first season bumped the program’s all-important multiyear score up five points to 946. Every NCAA athletic program must maintain a rolling, four-year average above 930 to be eligible for postseason competition.
It’s excellent news for Anderson, but the Tigers will still carry a dismal 851 score from the 2013-14 season — Frank Haith’s last in Columbia — for two more years.
No other Missouri athletic programs had a score below 970 for the 2011-12 or 2012-13 cycles.
Football (961), men’s swimming and diving (962) and women’s basketball (964) dipped last spring, but still remained well above the minimum threshold for postseason competition. Five programs were under 970 last season: baseball (943), men’s track and field (950), wrestling (968), women’s cross country (952) and softball (964).
“We’re certainly proud of our many Mizzou student-athletes and sport programs who continue to represent us so well in the classroom,” Tigers athletic director Mack Rhoades said in a statement. “Academic excellence has been a source of great pride for Mizzou Athletics for many years, and is a crucial component of our mission to Prepare Champions for Life.”
The Tigers’ football team earned a 987 for 2014-15, which is tied for the highest single-year score in program history, and maintains a multiyear score of 978. Missouri also had a 987 in 2011-12.
Four MU athletic programs — men’s golf, volleyball, women’s swimming and diving and women’s tennis — had a perfect 1,000 APR for the last four years.
Men’s track and field (986), women’s track and field (995) and women’s basketball (991) each rank in the top three in the Southeastern Conference in their respective sports with 11 of the Tigers’ 17 sports ranking in the top half of the conference.
The only program facing potential issues remains men’s basketball, especially considering the continued attrition in the program during the 2015-16 season.
Last spring, Missouri signed guard Martavian Payne — who announced plans on Twitter to enroll at an NAIA school, Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.), in the St. Louis suburbs next year — and he still factors into the 2015-16 APR despite never appearing in a regular-season game.
Those figures will be released next spring and also will reflect the dismissal of junior guard Wes Clark, whose scholarship was pulled in mid-February for academic reasons.
If Clark was officially removed from scholarship before Feb. 15, which was MU’s enrollment census date for the spring semester, it could mitigate some of the APR damage. Sophomores D’Angelo Allen, Namon Wright and Tramaine Isabell are transferring, and if they join a four-year program and leave Mizzou with a grade-point average of at least 2.6, the team won’t lose the retention point in the APR calculation.
Each student-athlete who is on scholarship receives one point for each semester they are academically eligible and one point for each semester they are retained (or graduate).
Mizzou men’s basketball received a 960 APR score for 2012-13 and a 978 for 2011-12. Dropping that 978 in next year’s four-year calculation means that the Tigers’ basketball team will need roughly a 931 APR score to keep its four-year score above 930.
The Tigers didn’t compete in the SEC Tournament this season and were ineligible for NCAA postseason play after self-imposing a one-year ban plus scholarship reductions in January amid an investigation into rules violations.
Missouri’s four-year APR by sport
Men’s golf 1,000
Women’s swiming and diving 1,000
Women’s tennis 1,000
Women’s track 995
Women’s volleyball 1,000
Women’s golf 992
Women’s gymnastics 992
Women’s soccer 992
Men’s cross country 991
Women’s basketball 991
Women’s cross country 988
Men’s track 986
Men’s wrestling 985
Men’s swimming and diving 977
Men’s basketball 946