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Two NIU athletics programs honored as nation’s best academic teams

June 14, 2012
MAC Champs

In addition to winning the MAC Football Championship and Bowl games, NIU was among the 12 APR Public Recognition Award honorees for the second straight year.

The success Northern Illinois University Athletics achieved in competition in 2011-12 continued in the classroom as the NCAA honored two Huskie teams with a Public Recognition Award as their Academic Progress Rate (APR) numbers qualified them in the Top 10 percent of all programs in their respective sports.

The Northern Illinois football and women’s outdoor track and field teams earned a Public Recognition Award for their performance in the classroom. NIU is the only Mid-American Conference school to earn a Public Recognition Award in football and women’s outdoor track and field.

Each year the NCAA honors selected Division I teams that rank in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport publicly recognizing their latest multiyear NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate. The APR provides a real-time look at team’s academic success each semester by tracking the progress of each student-athlete on scholarship on every Division I team and is based on eligibility, graduation and retention.

“This has been a fantastic year for Northern Illinois University Athletics,” said NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. “In addition to our four MAC Championships this year, two teams have been honored for their academic achievements. It validates our mission statement of developing champions in the classroom, in competition and in life.”

The Huskies were one of 12 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams to earn an APR Public Recognition Award. Joining NIU are the Air Force Academy, Boise State, Clemson, Duke, Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rice, Rutgers and Vanderbilt. It is the second-straight year the NIU football team received this honor.

NIU’s women’s outdoor track and field team earned its first Public Recognition Award and is one of 35 teams, the only Division I school from the state of Illinois, to make the list. The Huskie women’s outdoor track and field squad is the fifth NIU women’s team to earn a Public Recognition Award and the sixth overall for Northern Illinois University since the NCAA began honoring programs in 2006. Nine NIU teams representing six different sports have been honored in the time the NCAA has given the Public Recognition Award.

The most recent multi-year APRs are based on scores from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.

Thursday’s release by the NCAA included the list of 954 teams across all sports to receive this year’s Public Recognition Awards. Full APRs for all Division I sports teams, including the teams receiving public recognition, will be announced June 20.  Visit for more information.