April 5, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut has been informed by the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) that it has denied the school's final appeal of a postseason ban on its men's basketball team for the 2012-13 season because of the team's past cumulative Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores.
"I want to be clear that everyone at UConn is and will always be committed to academic excellence for all of our student-athletes and in particular our men's basketball players," said UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel, a past member of the NCAA's Academic Cabinet and Academic Eligibility and Compliance Committee. "Before we even began this appeal process, the University and its Division of Athletics began to implement changes that were designed to positively impact the academic performance of our men's basketball student-athletes. We have and will continue to make adjustments designed to help these young men succeed."
During the season that the UConn men's basketball team won the NCAA national championship, the squad had a nearly-perfect 978 APR score in 2010-11. During the fall 2011 semester, the team had a perfect APR score. Connecticut's other 23 athletic teams all have four-year APR scores that are above 945.
"While we as a University and coaching staff clearly should have done a better job academically with our men's basketball student-athletes in the past, the changes we have implemented have already had a significant impact and have helped us achieve the success we expect in the classroom," said men's basketball Coach Jim Calhoun. "We will continue to strive to maintain that success as we move forward."
The postseason ban that Connecticut faces in the 2012-13 season is the result of APR scores calculated over both a four-year and two-year period. For purposes of this ruling, the NCAA used the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years. At this point, the NCAA has decided to not use scores from the current 2011-12 academic year while considering postseason bans for 2012-13.
"When this change in legislation was adopted by the NCAA Board in October 2011 and made effective for the 2012-13 academic year, it gave the illusion that institutions had time to adjust to the legislation. Yet the data had already been submitted under a different penalty structure, one that would not have excluded our men's basketball team from participating in the post-season," said Manuel. "The approach to APR marks the first time in the history of the NCAA that it has ever implemented an academic rule significantly impacting current student-athletes without allowing the members time to adjust to the adoption of the legislation.
"In recent months, CAP chairperson and University of Hartford President Walter Harrison has been quoted as saying that CAP wanted to provide institutions with `a chance to adjust'. In actuality, these changes were a retroactive application of the rules. It remains the belief of the University of Connecticut that CAP and the Board of Directors should consider delaying the effective date of the implementation for all institutions to 2013-14, and/or use the APR scores from the 2011-12 academic year to determine postseason eligibility for the 2012-13 year."
"I am very proud of our current men's basketball student-athletes, who have worked hard in the classroom and enjoyed academic success," said UConn President Susan Herbst. "It is disturbing that our current players must pay a penalty for the academic performance of students no longer enrolled. As I have said repeatedly, no educator or parent purposefully punishes young people for the failings of others.
"UConn is a top 20 public research university and our current men's basketball team meets the standards we have for our students. We will continue to support athletes the right way, and they will step up to the high level of performance demanded by our faculty."