Prepare Yourselves, Duke Fans

Posted by jstevrtc on May 13th, 2010

This should make for some interesting in-game chants next season for opponents of the Duke Blue Devils, especially if Butler, Michigan State, or West Virginia is the opponent.

Of the squads taking part in the Final Four in Indianapolis this past March, three of them — Butler, Michigan State, and West Virginia — achieved Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores good enough to put them in the top 10% of all men’s college basketball teams, and therefore earn themselves an NCAA Public Recognition Award.  Yes, you read that right.  The only Final Four team not earning the award this time around:  Duke.

Da'Sean and his 'Eer teammates are in the Top 10% of the NCAA's APR scores, which should silence some of Huggins' detractors. (K. Binder/

At this moment, if you’re a Duke fan, you are probably positioning yourself at your computer, ready to fire off to us what’s sure to be a nasty e-mail or comment, indeed.  Well, sheathe your keyboards.  The APR is one of the tools used by the NCAA to monitor academic progress of each individual student-athlete, but keep in mind that it’s not perfect.  According to the linked AP article above from, each student-athlete earns a point for his program by simply staying at the school, and another point for doing well enough academically to stay eligible.  Each graduating player also earns a point.  The team loses a point for each player who transfers, and another for each player who leaves for the NBA, though we’re not sure what those things have to do with academic performance.  If a player isn’t in good academic standing when they leave/transfer, that’s another point lost.  All these points are then thrown into some mathematical formula, and every team in every sport is given a score.  A score of 1,000 is perfect, and 925 is considered the “minimum level of academic success.”  Fall below 925 for a semester or two, and you could be facing a slap from the NCAA’s pimp hand of sanctions.

These new scores (a full list, which should be fun to examine, is to be released later in the spring) are not just from this year; it’s a multi-year score that dates from 2005-06.  The AP article notes that Duke has had three recent transfers that counted against their score, as well as the fact that the Blue Devils have been in this “overachieving” category in the two seasons before this past one.  In fact, the only two national title-winning teams that earned the top-10% honor this year were the 2009 Division 1 championship football team from Villanova and the 2009 Farleigh Dickinson women’s bowling team.

This is, however, not meant to minimize the achievements of the other three Final Four teams, or any team specially honored with an NCAA Public Recognition Award.  But with a fan base that loudly and proudly touts itself as the ultimate blend of academics and athletics, and a head coach who does television commercials in which he advertises how he wants his players “prepared for life,” well…

To our Duke-supporting readers, we’re not saying those claims are necessarily wrong, so calm down.  Nobody’s challenging the academic standards of your school. But we are saying that you should probably prepare yourselves for a little, um, good-natured ribbing.  Especially if you happen to run into some Bulldogs, Mountaineers, or Spartans next season.

jstevrtc (547 Posts)

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One response to “Prepare Yourselves, Duke Fans”

  1. tallguy says:

    Good natured ribbing easily dealt with by pointing out which team had the highest graduation rate in the tournament.

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