College athletes continue to improve academically, at least as measured by the National Collegiate Athletic Association's academic progress rate, the NCAA announced Wednesday. The 2013-2014 season saw record high scores for the most high-profile college sports, the association said. The most recent four-year APR for Division I athletes was 978. Men’s basketball players earned a 961, up 4 points from last year's score. The football rate increased 5 points to 956. Women’s basketball increased 2 points to 975, as did baseball to 969.
Despite the overall increase in APR scores, a number of programs are facing postseason bans and other penalties for not maintaining the minimum APR score required by the NCAA. Historically black colleges and universities continue to be hit the hardest by the requirement, with 10 of the 16 institutions penalized this year being HBCUs. The average single-year APR for teams at what the NCAA calls limited-resource institutions -- which includes HBCUs -- has risen in the past four years, however.
“The academic performance of limited-resource schools is improving faster than that of any other part of the Division I membership,” Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, said in a statement. “The goal of the academic performance program is to encourage teams to improve academically, not punish those who underperform. We will work with HBCUs and limited-resource schools to make sure their college athletes have every opportunity to succeed academically.”
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