I believe in high standards, and I believe in a high bar in the pursuit of excellence in any endeavor. I believe in those principles with specific regard to the pursuit of excellence in education. I think most reasonable people would share that view.
I support setting standards and enforcing those standards, and I support it with regard to each NCAA member school. However, I believe that each school is and should be solely responsible for setting its own standards. Each of the more than 1,100 NCAA member institutions of higher learning (and that is just what they are -- institutions of higher learning) is autonomous and has a different mission with varying standards of admission and progress toward a degree. With regard to academics, the landscape shared by member schools is wide and has an equally wide degree of difference in standards. There is not a "level playing field."
The academic progress rate (APR) is a good idea in theory and provides good talking points and good appearances. Although a legitimate attempt to hold each school accountable to its own standards is fine, the practical effect can often be negative and contrary to the autonomy of an institution of higher learning, and to the so-called "values of higher education" that university presidents love to talk about.
The APR has led to negative and unintended consequences, and it has not promoted education as much as it has provided a number that few care to understand and that has very little real meaning. The APR is a flawed measure that is made up of a couple of simple points per athlete, one for remaining in good academic standing and one for retention, with a multiplier getting the standard to an easy-to-process 1,000-point maximum.
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