Athletics News hawkeyesports.com
Three UI Programs Lauded by NCAA

Iowa's men's cross country program was one of three singled out by the NCAA for its academic achievement.

Iowa's men's cross country program was one of three singled out by the NCAA for its academic achievement.

May 12, 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa's field hockey, softball and men's cross country teams were among the NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics programs singled out today by the NCAA for Academic Progress Reports (APR) in the top 10 percent of all teams in their specific sport.


Every NCAA Division I institution calculates an APR for each athletics team each academic year. The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester or quarter by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes eligibility, retention, and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.

Iowa was one of just 11field hockey programs singled out by the NCAA and was joined by Penn State as the only Big Ten Conference programs included in that elite list.

"Our expectations are to be the very best we can be in the classroom and on the field and, as a coaching staff, we enthusiastically and consistently support both. Ultimately, it's up to the individual student to maximize and prioritize her time and resources, and again, historically, we've had student-athletes who were able to do that very, very well," said Tracey Griesbaum, head coach of the UI's field hockey team.





"We never take for granted the academic commitment and success of the student-athletes who participate in our men's cross country program. They continue to set their bar very, very high."


Iowa was one of 38 men's cross country programs to be noted by the NCAA and was the only Big Ten Conference program included in that elite list. The team was also singled out for its academic excellence last year after having achieved a perfect score of 1,000.

"We never take for granted the academic commitment and success of the student-athletes who participate in our men's cross country program. They continue to set their bar very, very high," said Larry Wieczorek, Iowa's long-time men's cross country coach.

Iowa was one of 28 softball programs acknowledged by the NCAA and joined by Big Ten Conference peers Northwestern and Penn State on that elite list. Like the men's cross country program, Iowa's softball team also earned distinction a year ago when its APR ranked in the upper 10 percent.

"We are very proud of our program and the accomplishments of the many young women representing us. Academics have always been a priority and always will be," added Gayle Blevins, head coach of Iowa softball program.

"The wonderful thing we have experienced is that our students represent this every bit as well to our recruits as we do as coaches. This speaks volumes about their attitude regarding their academic endeavors."

The NCAA will release 2008-09 APR statistics for all intercollegiate athletics programs involved in NCAA Division I competition - including the 24 men's and women's programs at the UI - later this month. Last spring, all of the sports programs at the UI were achieving academically at a rate that surpassed the national benchmark and the majority of UI programs were performing at a rate that is better than their peers.

In addition, each of the 11 men's and the 13 women's athletics programs at the UI posted APR marks well beyond the 925 benchmark that could trigger the immediate loss of scholarships and a ban on post-season competition under certain circumstances.