Hockey Grades Well In NCAA’s Academic Performance Standards

Both men’s and women’s ice hockey program are academically performing up to expectations, according to the Academic Progress Rate (APR) data released by the NCAA on Wednesday.

The APR initiative was implemented by the NCAA as a means of tracking academic performance in athletics at member schools, and to penalize programs which fail to meet guidelines for acceptable performance.

None of the 99 teams which will be penalized under the NCAA’s new academic reform program, which was implemented two years ago, came from men’s or women’s ice hockey. Men’s ice hockey, with an aggregate APR of 971, ranked fourth among men’s sports behind water polo (974), fencing (974), and gymnastics (973) in overall Division I totals.

A year ago, when the initial APR data were released, four men’s Division I programs fell below the required 925 threshold. Ohio State, Vermont, Alaska-Anchorage and St. Cloud State were all in danger of losing scholarships for their men’s hockey programs.

Only Alaska-Anchorage did not raise its APR above the 925 threshold, at 914 this year. According to the NCAA, though, the school is not subject to penalties due to the “squad-size” adjustment, which will be applied until 2006-07. Under that adjustment, teams with current APRs below 925 will not necessarily be penalized since it is easier for a single poor-performing year to damage a two-year average than the intended full four-year average of APR data.

Of the remaining three schools, Ohio State posted the most dramatic positive variance, raising its APR from 892 to 971.

North Dakota, which last year posted a 960 APR, fell to 918, but similar to Alaska-Anchorage, will not be penalized this year due to squad-size adjustment.

Ice hockey was one of eight men’s Division I sports and one of nine women’s Division I sports to receive no penalties or sanctions. On the men’s side, football led the way with 43 teams under the required threshold. Basketball was the leader on the women’s side with 10 teams below 925.

In addition, seven men’s ice hockey programs and three women’s ice hockey programs were recognized for outstanding academic achievement.

American International, Holy Cross, Harvard, Rensselaer, Sacred Heart, Notre Dame and Yale all scored perfect 1000 ratings. Dartmouth, Niagara and Yale accomplished the same on the women’s side.

The NCAA’s review of overall APR data for all sports from 2003-04 and 2004-05 indicated that fewer teams than anticipated failed to meet the 925 cutoff that subjects teams to contemporaneous penalties. Further, fewer than 2 percent of Division I teams will lose scholarships because of academic underperformance.

This is the second year of an APR release, but the current 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.

For more detail on women’s hockey, see’s separate report.