The men's cross country and women's tennis teams have been honored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for their academic achievements. The two programs rank among the top 10 percent nationally in their respective sports in the most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) data.
Prior to this year, UNT has had four teams earn special recognition by the NCAA since the APR program began in 2005. UNT is one of only two Sun Belt Conference schools to have more than one team recognized in the top 10 percent. Middle Tennessee had three teams make the elite list.
"The special recognition is an important tool to validate the hard work and dedication that these student-athletes have committed to their academic success," says Rick Villarreal, director of athletics. "It will remain a focus of our coaches and academic support staff, and we are confident that we will continue to place more teams on this honorable list in the future."
Through its innovative APR program, which provides an annual scorecard of academic achievement, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I sports team. Full APR scores for all teams, including penalties for low-performing teams, were released in May.
NCAA President Mark Emmert says top-performing teams this year posted APR scores ranging from 977 to a perfect 1,000. The number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on the number of perfect scores.
"Most student-athletes excel at balancing their academic and athletics commitments, yet each year there are those who perform at extraordinary levels," Emmert says. "By achieving the highest levels of academic success as a team, these young men and women truly embody what it means to be a successful NCAA student-athlete."
By measuring eligibility and retention each semester or quarter, the APR provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport, Emmert says. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years.
A total of 239 institutions, out of 335 Division I colleges and universities, placed at least one team on the top APR list. Another 11 schools that offer athletics in more than one division, out of 52 overall within the NCAA, placed Division I teams on the list as well.