Maryland losing three football scholarships because of low APR

April 01, 2011|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — The NCAA is stripping Maryland of three football scholarships because of poor academic performance in recent years, particularly the 2-10 season of 2009.

The penalty will be imposed in the fall. It will be the first time Maryland has been docked scholarships in any sport since the NCAA began collecting such academic data in 2003-04.

The scholarships reductions won't be announced publicly by the NCAA until it releases its list of Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores and penalties in the late spring. Maryland officials confirmed the penalties Friday night in response to an inquiry.

The Sun reported on March 25 that the NCAA had told Maryland it stood to lose the scholarships because the APR — which charts players' paths toward graduation — slipped beneath acceptable levels.

Maryland had continued to argue its case to the NCAA, hoping to receive a waiver. But the waiver request was not granted.

The NCAA said it does not discuss individual schools' waiver requests, and Maryland officials said Friday night it was premature to comment.

Key to Maryland's argument was that academic improvements have been made since 2009 and that the school has a new president, new athletic director, new football coach and new academic support director for the program.

The issues arose when the team was coached by Ralph Friedgen, who has said since then that the athletic department's academic staff at Maryland was sometimes "overtaxed." The final season of Friedgen's contract was bought out, and he was replaced in January by Randy Edsall.

Since arriving in October, athletic director Kevin Anderson has hired a new chief of the academic support unit and added a new staff position for football academics.

Under normal circumstances, Maryland and other schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision can award 85 football scholarships.

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