All Women’s Hockey Programs Meet NCAA’s APR Standard

Women’s ice hockey scored sixth-highest among all NCAA Division I women’s sports in the first set of Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores based on a two-year cohort.

The NCAA’s new academic measurement, known as APR, is based on the academic eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes. An APR score of 925 is equivalent to an approximate graduation rate of 50 percent. Penalties can be imposed on schools and programs that fail to meet the 925 threshold over two years.

No women’s hockey programs finished below the threshold, although Quinnipiac’s scores fell right to the brink at 925. New Hampshire, the only women’s hockey program below the threshold based on one year of data, improved its score to 948. Dartmouth, Yale, and Niagara were all recognized for posting perfect scores.

Although women’s ice hockey’s average score (977) ranked sixth among its gender, it still ranked higher than any men’s sport. Men’s ice hockey (971) ranked fourth among men’s sports behind water polo (974), fencing (974), and gymnastics (973).

Academic Progress Rate data from 2003-04 and 2004-05 indicate that fewer teams than anticipated failed to meet the 925 cut-off score that subjects teams to contemporaneous penalties. Further, fewer than 2 percent of the more-than 6,100 Division I teams will lose scholarships because of academic under-performance.

The two-year aggregate APR shows that only 215 teams will fall under the APR safe-haven score of 925, but only 99 actually will incur a contemporaneous penalty – a one-year reduction in grant-in-aid maximums – that must be taken either this year or next. The 99 teams are from a total of 66 institutions, and more than two-thirds are clustered in three sports – 23 in football, 21 in baseball and 17 in men’s basketball. A handful of schools still have requests pending to waive the contemporaneous penalty. NCAA officials expect those cases to be completed by March 15.

This is the second year of an APR release, but the two-year aggregate is the first upon which contemporaneous penalties are based. Last year’s APR compilation was a dry run that gave Division I institutions an idea of how the APR worked and what penalties would have been assessed had the program been “live” for that year. First-year data projected about 7 percent of all teams to fall beneath the 925 cut-off, but in reality only 3.5 percent did. Those outcomes may be attributed to the advance notice served by the first-year test run.

The two-year data do indicate some warning signs, however. A total of 728 teams met the 925 benchmark only because of a squad-size adjustment, or a statistical “confidence boundary” that is being applied for all teams to ensure that low-performing teams are accurately identified given the smaller than intended data set. For now, as long as the squad-size adjustment puts teams at or above 925, they are not subject to penalty. However,the squad-size adjustment will be removed from the APR calculation after next year when the data sets are large enough to ensure accuracy.