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NIU athletes exceed APR standards…again

June 11, 2013

NCAA logoAll 17 Northern Illinois teams surpassed the national standards for academic progress measured by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) through its Academic Progress Rate (APR) for 2013, the eighth consecutive year that every NIU team has “made the grade.”

The primary tool used by the NCAA to measure the academic progress of every Division I team, the Academic Progress Rate is calculated based on the eligibility and retention of each scholarship student-athlete every year. The multi-year APR is based on the past four years’ performance with the 2013 report released Tuesday based on data from 2008-09 through 2011-12.

Led by women’s cross country, which last week earned a Public Recognition Award as one of the top APR teams in the nation with a perfect 1000 multi-year number, 15 of NIU’s 17 teams posted a multi-year Academic Progress Rate of 950 or higher. The Northern Illinois football team, which was publicly recognized in each of the past two years, finished just out of that group in 2013 with an APR of 974 to rank tied for 16th nationally among Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams. The Huskies’ APR is 25 points above the national average for football. The NIU football, women’s cross country and gymnastics teams had the highest APR (or tied) in the Mid-American Conference in their respective sports, while 10 Huskie squads ranked in the top three in the league for APR.

The Northern Illinois women’s tennis team made the greatest single year improvement as the squad raised its APR by 23 points from a year ago. Women’s cross country improved by nine points to achieve its perfect mark and women’s basketball was up eight points to 990 to rank third in the MAC and 18 points above the national average for women’s basketball. The Huskie men’s basketball team APR of 958 also ranks above the national average of 952.

Seven NIU women’s teams boasted APR scores of 990 or better this year: women’s cross country (1000) and women’s basketball (990) were gymnastics (995), women’s soccer (994), women’s golf (993), women’s outdoor track and field (992) and volleyball (991).

Christian Spears

Christian Spears

Northern Illinois places great value on the APR measurement and works hard to maintain each Huskie team’s academic standing, explained NIU acting Athletic Director Christian Spears.

“One reason we have had so much success in terms of the Academic Progress Rate report is that our coaches, administrators and Student-Athlete Academic Support Services staff emphasize it throughout the year,” Spears said. “The APR is not a once a year discussion for us, and we’re already looking at next year’s numbers and making sure they continue to rise. Success in the classroom does not happen without the hard work put in by our student-athletes. They are the ones doing the work, making the grades and ultimately earning their degrees from NIU.”

The NCAA released the complete APR reports for each school Tuesday, as well as the list of teams subject to penalties. In order to compete in the 2013-14 postseason, teams must achieve a 900 multi-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years. This standard will increase to a multi-year 930, which predicts to a Graduation Success Rate of approximately 50 percent, or a 940 two-year average APR for the 2014-15 postseason. The complete APR database is available online at

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