LSU’s athletic department received its annual report card — of sorts — from the NCAA on Tuesday.
The news handed down with the annual release Academic Progress Report data was mostly positive, too.
Out of 20 varsity sports, LSU learned all of them cleared the basic benchmark score of 900 for a multi-year score, meaning none are subject to NCAA penalties such as a scholarship reductions, limitations on practice time or the harshest penalty of a ban from postseason play.
The APR score is based on scholarship athletes maintaining their academic eligibility and enrollment at their school for a pre-determined period of time. For example, a point is awarded for each semester of eligibility, meaning an athlete can accrue up to two points per semester. This year’s multi-year score is for a four-year period that started in the fall of 2008, and a perfect score is 1000 points.
Twelve of LSU’s programs earned APR scores above 980, including women’s cross country’s perfect score for a fourth consecutive season.
In addition, other teams clearing the 980 plateau included men’s tennis (992), men’s swimming and diving (989), men’s golf (989), softball (987), women’s golf (984), women’s soccer (984), women’s tennis (984), women’s indoor track & field (984), women’s indoor and outdoor track and field (984), volleyball (984), and gymnastics (982).
The only potential trouble spots looming for LSU are in men’s cross country, which notched a 913 multi-year APR score, and men’s basketball and its multi-year mark of 909. In two years, a minimum multi-year APR score will have to clear a score of 930 to avoid penalties.
For example, the first level of penalties is paring weekly practice time to 16 hours, a reduction of four hours from the NCAA maximum, with those hours being shifted toward academic activities.
The Tigers basketball program has been hit hard by transfers in recent years.
During 2011, LSU lost Garrett Green, Aaron Dotson and Matt Derenbecker after they left for other programs.
A year later, the departure of coach Trent Johnson to Texas Christian University generated another round of roster turnover. Guard Ralston Turner transferred to North Carolina State, where he sat out and will be eligible this season.
Finally, coach Johnny Jones saw forward Jalen Courtney and freshman guard Corban Collins each decamp from Baton Rouge this spring to Moorehead State.
What impact those departures ultimately have on LSU’s multi-year score aren’t known, but keeping as many members of its six-player signing class — considered a consensus top-10 group nationally — in the fold is imperative in order to keep the score above board. Keeping forward Johnny O’Bryant, who in the spring mulled declaring for the NBA draft, in the fold helps ensure the score doesn’t take another blow.
LSU’s other two marquee men’s programs remaining on firm footing, though. Football earned a multi-year score of 944, while baseball earned a score of 973.
Meanwhile, LSU’s women’s basketball program was assessed a score of 964.