April 9, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been informed by the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance that it was denied the final appeal of a postseason ban of its men's basketball team for 2014-15 because of past cumulative Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores.
The decision means that Milwaukee is not eligible for the Horizon League Tournament or any other postseason competition following the regular season next year.
"The academic success of our student-athletes will always be the top priority in the Milwaukee athletic department," UWM Athletic Director Amanda Braun said. "We are aware that problems did occur in the past, but we have faced them and made changes and are accepting the consequences from the NCAA. Well before we even started the appeals process, we began implementing new processes to help all of our student-athletes have more success in the classroom."
Numerous changes have been set in place by the administration of the athletic department, highlighted by the following:
*Academic support staff was limited in the past, with just one advisor on staff prior to 2011. An additional staff position was created then and a third advisor was added to the staff in 2013.
*A class for incoming student-athletes that helps them transition to college life is now available and was put in place two years ago.
*Beginning in the Fall of 2013, student-athletes have been screened for learning needs to identify anyone that may need additional academic support.
The men's basketball score for the current four-year 2012-13 cycle was 908, falling below the mandated minimum, prompting the NCAA to issue the penalty. The decision is not a sanction based on any type of violation of NCAA rules, but rather a penalty handed out because of the APR score.
"This year our men's basketball program has done extraordinarily well and we have a lot to be proud of both on and off the court," Braun said. "We are fully confident we have addressed the issues when it comes to the academic performance of our student-athletes."
In addition to being barred from any type of postseason contests, Milwaukee will have to replace four hours of practice each week with four hours of academic activities. In addition, basketball-related activities will be limited to five days instead of six.
The NCAA recently changed its policies in regards to APR performance. It moved to a higher four-year APR score of 930 in order to participate in the postseason the following campaign, with this year being the first time Milwaukee needed to be at that higher level with its four-year average scores.
"I am very proud of the steps that we have taken in regards to the APR score," UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. "The quality of the student-athletes in our program cannot be stressed enough and we are fully committed to supporting them."
What is Milwaukee ineligible for?
The penalty involves postseason play only. The team is still eligible for the 2014-15 regular-season Horizon League championship.
What is APR?
The APR is a measure used by the NCAA to determine whether or not players from any particular team are in good academic standing.
How is it calculated each season?
The APR score is calculated using a combination of retention of student-athletes and their academic eligibility each season.
What is the highest score possible?
A perfect APR score would be 1,000.
Is this related to one particular season?
No. The APR scores cover a rolling four-year window. The penalty today would cover the team's academic performance from 2009-10 through 2012-13.
How do you lose points?
Teams lose points for two reasons. If a scholarship player leaves at the end of a semester and is not in good academic standing or if a scholarship player is not academically eligible at the end of a semester.
What is the improvement plan now in place at UWM?
The changes that were made include the following:
1. Prior to 2011, the UWM Athletic Department had one full-time academic advisor on staff. A second position was added at that time and a third was added in 2013.
2. A class for incoming student-athletes that helps them transition to college life is now available and was put in place two years ago.
3. Beginning in the Fall of 2013, student-athletes have been screened for learning needs to identify anyone that may need additional academic support.
Will this impact other sports at UWM?
No. Each team has its own APR score and no other programs are affected by this.
When will the length of the penalty be over?
The penalty is for one year, the 2014-15 season. It affects no other year as long as the APR score is back over the minimum threshold. All signs point to this being the case.