NCAA penalizes Colorado for lackluster academics

Published Jun. 9, 2010 9:07 p.m. ET

The NCAA's big boys are beating up on the smaller schools in the classroom, too.

Only seven of the 137 teams sanctioned Wednesday for poor scores on the Academic Progress Rate come from BCS conferences. One squad, Portland State's men's basketball team, will be banned from next season's NCAA tournament.

Colorado and Syracuse were the only power conference schools to make the list in the three highest-profile sports - football or men's and women's basketball. The men's basketball teams at both schools and the Colorado football team all were sanctioned for falling short of the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate cutline of 925.

The APR measures the classroom performance of every Division I team and is based on data collected from 2005-06 through 2008-09.

Colorado will lose one scholarship in men's basketball and up to four scholarships in football. The Buffaloes scored 920 in football and 897 in basketball. The Orange's basketball team scored 912 and could lose up to two basketball scholarships if academically ineligible players leave school before next season.

Colorado was one of 10 schools to be sanctioned in both sports, though the other nine all compete in the Football Championship Subdivision. And four of those 10 are Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Clearly, school size matters.


Only four BCS teams, other than those at Colorado and Syracuse, face penalties: men's outdoor track teams at Auburn and Cincinnati, the men's indoor track team at Auburn and the women's rowing team at West Virginia.

The other 130 teams, including 20 football and men's basketball teams that face scholarship losses, a reduction in practice time or both, come from smaller conferences.

The APR is billed as a real-time academic measure of every Division I team. Each athlete receives one point per semester for remaining academically eligible and another point each semester for remaining at that school or graduating.

A mathematical formula is then used to calculate a final team score with 1,000 points being perfect. Teams falling below 925 can face conditional scholarship losses. Teams consistently falling below 900 can be penalized more harshly.

Florida International and Southeastern Louisiana each had seven teams penalized, the most in Division I.

The other schools with more than two teams on the list are McNeese State with six; Cal State-Fullerton, Chicago State, Delaware State, Howard and Nicholls State with four; Georgia Southern, Portland State, Southern University, Southern Utah, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Texas-San Antonio with three.

Tennessee-Chattanooga avoided a second straight postseason ban in football despite scoring 885 because the team showed ``demonstrated improvement'' over last year's score of 870.