MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia men’s and women’s basketball teams ranked at or near the top of the Big 12 in the latest NCAA Academic Progress Rates, while football stood eighth in the conference.
All 17 of West Virginia’s varsity teams received satisfactory scores on the newly issued APR report, based upon the classroom performance of athletes from the 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years.
The NCAA’s new four-year cutline of 930 equates to about a 50-percent graduation rate. Teams scoring below that mark face penalties such as practice limitations and postseason bans.
The WVU women’s basketball team topped the Big 12 with a 991 four-year score, while men’s hoops tied for third at 974. The recent spate of transfers leaving Bob Huggins’ roster hasn’t hurt the score because players typically completed the semester before leaving in good academic standing.
With an APR of 942, the West Virginia football program ranked 90th of 123 FBS teams and ahead of only Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in the conference. Because OSU’s score dipped to 929, the Cowboys were forced to reduce next season’s practice time from six days a week to five. USA Today reported that Mike Gundy planned to eliminate the Sunday evening practice in response to the sanctions.
Asked how a deep-funded, power-conference program such as Oklahoma State Mark Emmert said, “There really isn’t a good excuse.”
Gundy’s team can still qualify for a bowl next season, however, because the NCAA allows teams with a two-year average of 940 to skirt the postseason ban. Oklahoma State’s two-year score came uncomfortably close to that benchmark at 943.54.
Two other FBS teams, UNLV and Idaho, will be barred from bowls next season.
The Mountaineers baseball program was in peril after last year’s four-year score of 922, yet avoided sanctions by raising its average to 937. That still ranks last in the conference and 282nd out of 297 Division I baseball teams, but above the 930 benchmark. Randy Mazey’s team produced a single-year score of 987 to make amends for the 882 from 2011-12 under former coach Greg Van Zant.
Mississippi Valley State was the lone Division I baseball program ruled ineligible for postseason play next season.