USC has the 45th-highest Academic Progress Rate among the 68 teams in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, 14 spots higher than when the team was last in the tournament, according to a study released Wednesday.
The Trojans’ rate was 959, according to “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates and Academic Progress Rates for the 2014 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Teams,” a study conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, based on figures reported by the NCAA.
The average in the field was 966.25.
USC had a 924 rate in 2011, when it was last in the NCAA tournament, tying Kansas State for 59th.
The rate cited in the study uses four years of data ending in the 2013-14 school year. The Trojans’ rate was impacted by player defections after the coaching change that resulted in the hiring of Andy Enfield prior to the 2013-14 season, USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone told City News Service.
USC had a Graduation Success Rate of 82, tying Temple for 33rd among tournament teams.
The team posted its highest semester cumulative grade point average in the spring of 2015, Tessalone said. Records have been kept since 2000.
“The academic culture on the USC men’s basketball team has never been better,” said Magdi El Shahawy, USC’s senior associate athletic director in charge of Student-Athlete Academic Services.
The Academic Progress Rate was created by the NCAA in 2004 in an effort to more accurately measure student-athletes’ progress and improve graduation rates. It is used to determine penalties for academically underperforming athletic programs.
The rate is a four-year average of academic performance that rewards student-athletes for remaining eligible as well as continuing education at the same school. Every player receiving an athletic scholarship earns one retention point for staying in school and one eligibility point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to determine the Academic Progress Rate.
Teams scoring lower than 930 can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships.
The Graduation Success Rate was developed in 2005 in response to the demand for a more accurate measure of graduation performance of NCAA athletics programs.
To calculate the rate, the NCAA tracks student-athletes for six years following their entrance to an NCAA member institution. The rate is used by the NCAA as a measuring device to signal performance of NCAA athletic programs.