While the athletic performance of Division I athletes is most commonly under the microscope, there’s a system in place to measure how well institutions are developing their players in the classroom as well. Developed in the early 2000’s, the APR, or Academic Progress Rate system, was put in place to gauge university performance with regards to the scholastic performance of students. Schools would receive a point for athletes receiving partial or full scholarships that stayed in school, and an additional point for each player who was academically eligible to participate. In prior years, this meant that a student would have to maintain a 2.6 GPA in order for the school to receive a point for academic performance.
Last week, the NCAA announced a tweak to their formula, to help address the influx of current and anticipated transfers. Rather than using the GPA metric, Division I athletes will now yield a retention point for the school they are departing from if they were on track to receive their degree when they transferred.
The transfer process and its related operational consequences have garnered some addition attention in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, the NCAA implemented a new transfer rule allowing athletes in all sports to change programs one time in their collegiate career. For decades, transfer students would be forced to sit out a season, but that mandate has been done away with. Transfers will now be eligible to play for their new universities immediately.
To be expected, this change has incited a record number of transfers. As such, the system institutions are graded had to be reworked to accurately take this influx into consideration.
Since there is now almost two decades worth of data linked to this key performance indicator, the NCAA also uses a four year rolling average of APR metric to determine whether schools are doing well enough to participate in championships.