Tulane fares well in APR scores

If there’s one ranking Tulane’s athletics department feels confident in, it’s the annual Academic Progress Rate data, even in its most high-profile sports.

Tulane’s football team ranked third among its Conference USA peers, compiling a score of 960, while its men’s basketball team had its best rating on record, scoring 989, the second-highest mark in C-USA.

Overall, the Green Wave scored high grades in the classroom, based on the calculation which is derived from a four-year period covering the span between the 2008-09 and 2011-2012 academic years. Tulane’s high scores are a relief for its coaches, who could suffer a variety of penalties including a postseason ban, shrunken practice time and scholarship losses as a result of a deficient APR.

Currently, the NCAA threshold for participating in the postseason is 900. However, the standard will rise to 930 starting next year (equating to a 50 percent graduation rate), yet none of Tulane’s 15 athletic programs is in jeopardy of being affected by the change.

In fact, Green Wave women’s swimming, women’s bowling, men’s tennis, men’s track and cross country all received perfect scores (1000).

“We are pleased to see Tulane student-athletes continue to consistently rank among nation’s best in their classroom accomplishments,” Tulane Athletic Director Rick Dickson said. “Seven of our programs for 2011-12 produced perfect scores, and four achieved special recognition in the multi-year APR report. It speaks to the determination and focus of the quality student-athletes at Tulane and to the dedication of our academic staff in supporting them.”

The only possible blemish on the Green Wave’s report card was in its baseball program, which dipped to 959, its lowest score on record since the NCAA began tracking the rate in 2004-05. It ranked seventh out of nine Conference USA baseball programs.

However, coach Rick Jones said he was unconcerned by the report and pointed to his program’s stellar academic performance during his 21-year tenure at Tulane as a reason to have confidence. Not to mention the bump Tulane is expected to receive by already graduating nine of its 10 seniors from last year’s team, with one more on schedule to finish next year.

“We have never had a senior come play here and not graduate,” Jones said. “Once you see the numbers come through next year, with such a large class, you’ll see a spike, and we’ll be back to the numbers we typically have. We had a team grade point average of better than 3.1 this spring, so we are performing just fine in the classroom and I think our numbers will bear that out next year.”