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Student-Athletes Rise to the Top

May 12th, 2017

The latest Academic Progress Rate report from the National Collegiate Athletic Association released Wednesday saw Northern Illinois University teams post better scores than ever in one of the most important measuring sticks of academic success.

The multi-year Academic Progress Rate, released annually for every NCAA Division I team for the last 13 years, calculates eligibility and retention of every scholarship student-athlete each semester in the past four years. The new report is based on annual rates from 2012-2013 through 2015-2016.

Not only did every NIU team surpass the minimum standard of 930 set by the NCAA to avoid penalties for the 11th consecutive year, every Huskie squad recorded an APR at least 20 points above the mark. Ten of 16 NIU programs (indoor and outdoor track and field are combined) had APR scores that ranked at or above the national average for their sport, while 10 programs matched or raised their APR number from a year ago.

“I’m pleased to see the APR scores improve for so many of our programs,” said Sean T. Frazier, NIU associate vice president and director of NIU Athletics. “This is another indication of the emphasis our coaches and staff have placed on academic success and our commitment to providing student-athletes with the best experience possible. Looking at the APR numbers, the graduation success and the department’s combined GPA, it’s clear that NIU student-athletes are getting it done in the classroom and in competition, proving once again that the balance of academic and athletic success can occur.”

Last week three NIU programs – gymnastics, men’s tennis and volleyball – were honored with public recognition awards from the NCAA. All three recorded perfect APR scores of 1,000 for the four-year rate. These three teams and women’s tennis had APR scores that ranked first in the Mid-American Conference in their respective sports.

Those weren’t the only impressive APR numbers posted by NIU teams this year. The Huskie men’s basketball team earned the highest APR in program history with 966 and had the biggest single-year improvement of any NIU team with a 25-point jump from a year ago.

Volleyball’s 1,000 APR was its highest ever, while men’s soccer and softball saw double-digit improvements of 11 and 14 points, respectively.  Softball’s 988 APR is the second highest in program history, as was baseball’s 979. With an APR of 986, women’s basketball tied for its third best APR ever. The Huskie football team’s 976 score also ranked third all-time at NIU.

NIU Athletics recently launched the Campaign to Sustain, a comprehensive fundraising initiative that will unite the campus and athletic constituents. The campaign will ensure NIU Athletics’ ability to carry on the rich tradition established by previous generations of student-athletes and will lift future Huskies to new heights. More information on the Campaign to Sustain is available at the link above.