Coppin State basketball team losing four scholarships because of low APR

Eagles will lose three this year, one next year; Morgan State hoops team avoids postseason ban

May 24, 2011|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

The NCAA said Tuesday that it is stripping the Coppin State men's basketball team of four scholarships because of low academic progress scores.

Meanwhile, the Morgan State's men's basketball team received a waiver shielding it from a postseason ban.

Word of the scholarship reductions and waiver came as the NCAA announced the latest Academic Progress Rates. The APR is designed to chart players' paths toward graduation.

The NCAA said Coppin State will lose the scholarships because its rates fell below the cutoff scores. Teams ordinarily get 13 scholarships. The team's practice time was also reduced.

"It's going to be three this year and one next year," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said of the lost scholarships. "Our problem had a lot to do with disrespectful young people, and we're not going to tolerate that. We have an academic plan, and our kids did a tremendous job this year. Academics has always been important to me."

Morgan State's waiver is "conditional," meaning it could be lifted if expected improvements aren't made, according to the NCAA. Morgan State — which lost two men's basketball scholarships a year ago — has said it has an academic improvement plan in place.

Some outcomes were already known. The Baltimore Sun reported on April 2 that the NCAA is stripping Maryland of three football scholarships because of poor APR scores in recent years, particularly the 2-10 season of 2009. It marks the first time Maryland has been docked scholarships in any sport since the NCAA began collecting such academic data in 2003-04.

Maryland had also sought a waiver, arguing 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. But the school's request was denied.

A team's APR is based on the number of members who stay enrolled and academically eligible. The highest score is 1,000. Teams that fall below 925 can lose scholarships.

Maryland football's rate, covering four academic years ending in 2009-10, was 922. The average was pulled down considerably by the 905 score for the 2009-10 season alone.

Former Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen said in an interview earlier this year that the athletic department's academic staff at Maryland was sometimes "overtaxed" — a situation the current administration says has since been corrected.

Maryland's four-year men's basketball rate was 945 and its latest single-season rate was 959. Maryland's women's basketball team posted rates of 964 and 929, respectively.

The rates were 983 and 982 for Maryland men's lacrosse, and 992 and 969 for women's lacrosse.

Coppin State's rates were 834 and 735 for men's basketball. The rate for 2010-11 will be announced in a year.

Morgan State's men's basketball's four-year rate was 890. The figure for 2009-10 alone was 950. Calls to the school were referred Tuesday to athletic director Floyd Kerr, who was not immediately available for comment.

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