LEWISBURG, Pa. – Once again this year all 27 of Bucknell varsity athletics teams have significantly exceeded the NCAA's academic performance standards. Using the Academic Progress Rate (APR) formula that tracks student-athlete eligibility and retention, every Bison team easily surpassed the NCAA's benchmark of a 930 score, and 15 Bucknell programs have perfect 1,000 marks.
Just last week, Bucknell Athletics received 15 NCAA APR Public Recognition Awards, the sixth-highest total among all Division I institutions. On Wednesday, the NCAA followed up with the release of team-by-team APR data.
The APR is a formula created 14 years ago, and it is used by the NCAA to measure teams' academic performance. Scores under 930 could result in certain NCAA-imposed penalties, including loss of scholarships and ineligibility for postseason play.
Under the APR system, a student-athlete can be awarded two points per semester - one for remaining academically eligible throughout the semester and another for being retained for the next term. Team percentages are then calculated to determine its APR.
The latest APR data represents a four-year average for the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years. The NCAA evaluates programs based on a four-year rolling average.
According to the latest round of data, 15 of 25 Bison teams (indoor and outdoor track & field are considered one sport in the formula) have perfect 1,000 scores in the four-year average. Those programs are baseball, men's basketball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, women's golf, men's lacrosse, men's soccer, softball, men's swimming & diving, women's tennis, men's and women's track & field, volleyball, and men's water polo.
Bucknell teams have captured seven conference championships so far in 2016-17, and five of the seven have perfect APR scores (men's basketball, men's water polo, women's cross country, women's indoor/outdoor track & field). The other two – women's basketball at 995 and women's soccer at 994 – narrowly missed perfect marks. Four other Bison teams scored in the 990s, and every program came in at 969 or better.
Men's basketball is one of 20 programs in the nation – and one of six that also played in the NCAA Tournament -- with a score of 1,000. In the most exclusive company is men's water polo, which is one of only three Division I teams with a perfect APR score, joining Brown and Fordham. Men's lacrosse is one of only four teams with a mark of 1,000, along with Ivy Leaguers Brown, Dartmouth and Penn.
The national average for all sports is 981, up two points from last year's report. This marks the 12th consecutive year of nationwide APR improvement, according to the NCAA.