April 23, 2009
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa's men's cross country, women's golf, and softball teams were among the NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics programs singled out today by the NCAA for ranking in the top 10 percent among their peers in the NCAA's 2008 Academic Progress Rate.
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.
"We have always been very proud of the way student athletes and coaches at the University of Iowa value academic achievement and today's announcement speaks very well for three of our teams. This is a significant achievement," said Fred Mims, the UI's associate athletics director for student services and compliance. Mims also noted that the UI is looking forward to next month's release of APR detail that allows for the opportunity to compare the achievement of Iowa's student-athletes with their peers nationally.
The NCAA honored 767 Division I teams that earned multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports, about 11.8 percent of all 6,484 Division I teams. Last year, 11.4 percent were recognized.
"Our mission statement includes having our student-athletes graduate within five years with a meaningful degree that prepares them for the rest of their lives. I'm very proud or our student-athletes academic record. We believe that athletic excellence and academic excellence go hand in hand," said Larry Wieczorek, the head coach of the UI's cross country team and himself a graduate of the University of Iowa.
"Our mission statement includes having our student-athletes graduate within five years with a meaningful degree that prepares them for the rest of their lives. I'm very proud or our student-athletes academic record. We believe that athletic excellence and academic excellence go hand in hand."
UI Men's Cross Country Coach Larry Wieczorek
Iowa was one of 35 men's cross country programs to rank among the Top 10 in APR among its peers and was joined by Michigan as the only Big Ten Conference programs included in that elite list.
"We are honored that our team is being recognized for our academic record and accomplishments. We are committed to retaining and graduating our student-athletes. Iowa is proof that a program can be outstanding both academically and athletically. One need only look at the history of our program to see that this is in fact a priority," offered Gayle Blevins, whose UI softball team has had back-to-back years in the nation's Top 10.
The UI softball program was one of 33 nationally to rank among the Top 10 in APR among its peers and was joined by Penn State as the only Big Ten Conference programs to achieve at that level.
"The athletes who come to Iowa are fully aware of the expectations, not only on the golf course, but also in the classroom. This is evidence of their commitment to their academic goals," added Kelly Crawford, head coach of the UI women's golf team.
Iowa was one of 46 women's golf programs to rank among the Top 10 in APR among its peers and was joined by Northwestern, Illinois and Michigan as the only Big Ten Conference programs included in that elite list.