Maryland's Gary Williams gets good grade on APR scores

August 05, 2010|By Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams again met baseline standards for his players' academic performance, according to a new NCAA report released Thursday.

After substandard scores earlier this decade, Williams improved his Academic Progress Rate score for the third straight year. Williams had a 962 score for the 2008-09 academic year, safely above the NCAA's mandated score of 925. An APR of 925 predicts a graduation rate of about 50percent.

The report, which detailed coaches' scores for their players' academic performance from 2003-04 to 2008-09, showed Williams' score dipped to as low as 818 in 2005-06 before rebounding to 900 the following year and then 960 in 2007-08.

Williams said in 2008 that many of his former players had decided to turn pro rather than remain enrolled and finish their degrees. "They have to make their money when the opportunity is there," he said.

Seniors Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne all graduated this spring but did not factor into the scores.

Several other local basketball programs didn't fare as well. Morgan State's Todd Bozeman topped 925 only once in the past four years, twice scoring 846 and falling as low as 829 in 2007-08. In June, the school announced that the team had lost two scholarships for poor academic performance.

Coppin State's Fang Mitchell scored 792 for 2008-09, the lowest mark among all area schools in the six sports measured -- baseball, football, men's and women's basketball, and women's indoor and outdoor track and field.

Because teams that consistently fail to score above the cutline are already being punished, the NCAA does not plan to further penalize coaches for low scores.

Walter Harrison, chairman of the NCAA's committee on academic performance, said the data were disseminated primarily as a resource for recruits and their families.

"We are calling attention to the success of coaches and having transparency. I personally feel that is right, that we should not go further," Harrison said in a conference call.

After the NCAA stripped the Morgan State football team of 3.15 scholarships for three straight years of sub-900 scores -- the benchmark for imposing "historical penalties" -- coach Donald Hill-Eley had a score of 917 in 2008-09.

Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen's score dipped below the cut line, to 924, for the first time in 2007-08 before rebounding slightly the following year. Of the six Maryland coaches, only Friedgen and Williams fell below 925 during the six years of data made available.

The six sports chosen were selected for their diversity in team size, composition and typical academic profile. The NCAA will expand its data to all DivisionI sports after the 2010-11 academic year.

jonas.shaffer@gmail.com

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