For our complete list of 2011-12 conference primers working backward from #31 to #1, click here.
Reader’s Take I
- Southern & Grambling APR Victims. When the NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate report in May, the SWAC contained two of the five basketball programs facing a postseason ban in 2011-12 as a result of consistently poor scores over several years. While this news shouldn’t surprise anyone who has followed the APR since it was implemented several years ago, the teeth of the rule is finally taking hold on individual institutions. Southern and Grambling probably were not going to be in a competitive position to make the NCAA Tournament this season anyway, but this is something that each school must take seriously in order to secure their D-I existence. The two institutions submitted APR improvement plans to the NCAA over the summer, and with good reason — without a considerable short-term jump in scores, the next penalty is restricted membership in Division I.
- Will the APR Eliminate HBCUs in Division I? Southern and Grambling’s APR predicament highlights a harrowing situation among the two Division I basketball leagues comprising historically black colleges and universities. With the APR cut line increasing from 925 to 930 as of next year, and a corresponding postseason penalty for programs failing to make that cut in the future, the SWAC and MEAC could face an untenable situation where every one of its members is ineligible for postseason play, and ultimately on restricted status. If the 930 threshold had been in effect last year, for example, only one school — the SWAC’s Alcorn State, with its 4-24 overall record and 944 APR score — would have been eligible for the NCAA Tournament. The APR has been shown to correlate strongly with African-American enrollment, and at the low-budget HBCUs that comprise the SWAC and the MEAC, this development presents tremendous cause for concern. Whether this is purposeful or not, we’ll leave for you to decide.