The NCAA always likes to remind everyone that student comes before athlete in the “student-athlete” phrase. The organization helps to reinforce this by using Academic Progress Reports (APR) to hold programs accountable. The APR measures teams on their ability to retain and keep student-athletes eligible for each academic term. APR bans can be handed out if programs fail to meet these standards.
APR Bans Handed Out by the NCAA
Teams can be banned from the postseason for failing to get an APR score of at least 930. The score is measured on a four-year basis. Programs that fail to reach that score face penalties handed down from the NCAA. However, these penalties are meant to increase academic progress.
The number of teams facing postseason bans because of low scores on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate has nearly doubled in one year.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) May 19, 2020
The most common penalty is a postseason ban. The NCAA is letting programs delay their punishment to the 2021-22 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic if they choose. Four men’s basketball programs received this penalty for the upcoming year: Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Delaware State, and Stephen F. Austin.
Alabama A&M Bulldogs
Alabama A&M’s APR score came in at 908. However, this is not the programs’ first violation. The Bulldogs have faced violations in three of the last four seasons. There is some hope, however, as their multi-year rate has been increasing. Still, the program is facing level-two restrictions. This means that there can only be four countable hours of activity per week in the offseason. The amount of games they can play is reduced by three, and they lose 14 days to their season.
Alabama State Hornets
Mo Williams is in for a challenge right off the bat at Alabama State. He was announced as the new head coach last week. The Hornets APR score came in at 909 after just meeting the threshold at 930 the year before. This is the program’s first APR violation since the 2012-13 academic year. Alabama State faces just a level one violation, meaning they can only have five days and 16 countable hours of basketball activities during the season.
Delaware State Hornets
Delaware State received its second-straight APR notice in the latest reports. The program posted an APR of just 901, down from 925 the season before. The Hornets were hit with level one sanctions last year and are now upgraded to level two for the upcoming season. This will cause the program to be ineligible for any postseason tournaments in 2020-21.
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
The most surprising announcement of the APR bans comes from Texas. Stephen F. Austin shocked the world in November, knocking off then top-ranked Duke. Now, they are shocking college basketball with an APR of 810, well below the minimum 930 needed. The athletic department said the low score is a result of an administrative error as to how they were calculating APR.
— SFA Athletics (@SFA_Athletics) May 19, 2020
The school intends to delay the postseason ban for the men’s basketball program for the 2021-22 season under the coronavirus provision set forth by the NCAA. The violation is classified as level one. It will be interesting to see how this affects the program moving forward, as they were one of the premier mid-major programs over the past decade.