SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Six Cal Poly intercollegiate athletics teams posted perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rate scores during the 2015-16 academic year and 14 squads registered improvements in their four-year rate scores. Three others maintained their four-year rate scores of a year ago.
In addition, the Mustang football team's APR for the 2015-16 academic year is a near-perfect 997, an increase of 70 points over last year and the highest among the 13 Big Sky Conference members, while its 961 four-year rate score for the academic years 2012-13 through 2015-16 is a jump of 15 points and three points above the national average for Football Championship Subdivision members.
Six teams — men's basketball, men's golf, men's swimming and diving, wrestling, men's track and field and women's swimming and diving — all have four-year rate scores within their sport ranked at or above the 70th percentile.
The six teams with perfect 1,000 scores during the 2015-16 school year are men's cross country, men's golf, wrestling, women's volleyball, women's basketball and women's soccer.
Wrestling and men's golf earned public recognition awards from the NCAA last week for achieving four-year rate scores above the 90th percentile. It was the fourth consecutive year for men's golf.
The four-year rate score of 994 for the Mustang women's volleyball team is a 27-point improvement while wrestling increased 25 points to 991. In addition, women's basketball jumped 12 points to 968 while men's cross country's 988 four-year rate is an increase of 10 points.
Other Cal Poly teams showing improvement in their four-year rate scores are baseball, men's soccer, men's swimming and diving, men's track and field, women's cross country, softball, women's soccer and women's track and field.
Three other teams recorded the same four-year rate as a year ago. They are men's basketball, men's golf and women's swimming and diving.
"Cal Poly should be considered amongst the best in the nation in the academic performance of our student-athletes," said Mustang director of athletics Don Oberhelman. "These numbers indicate our commitment to academic excellence.
"Our teacher-scholar model is so important at Cal Poly and that philosophy is thriving in our athletic program," Oberhelman added. "Our student-athletes continue to succeed both in the classroom and on the field."
Aside from football, other teams making double-digit improvement in their single-year APR score from the 2014-15 school year to 2015-16 are men's swimming and diving (45 points from 936 to 981), men's cross country (16 points from 984 to 1,000), wrestling (13 points from 987 to 1,000) and women's soccer (15 points from 985 to 1,000).
The nationwide four-year rate average for Division I student-athletes is 981, up two points from the previous year's mark. Three-point improvements in baseball and football four-year rates contributed to that increase. Baseball teams earned a 973 four-year rate (up from 970), and football teams earned a 962 (up from 959). In addition, men's basketball teams earned a 966 four-year rate (up from 964), and women's basketball teams earned a 980 (up from 978).
NCAA President Mark Emmert applauded Division I student-athletes for their continued academic achievement and dedication to earning a degree.
"I am so pleased that the Academic Progress Rates continue to rise, but I am more excited about what those numbers mean: Thousands of college athletes continue to make real progress toward earning their degrees," Emmert said. "A college degree, combined with the skills they learn while participating in sports, will provide countless opportunities for them later in life."
Every Division I sports team across the nation calculates its APR each academic year, similar to a report card. Scholarship student-athletes each semester earn one point for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or graduating. At schools that don't offer scholarships, recruited student-athletes are tracked.
In the 13 years of the Academic Performance Program, more than 15,000 former college athletes have earned APR points for their former teams by going back to school and earning their degrees. More than 8,000 competed in baseball, men's basketball, football and women's basketball — the highest-profile sports in Division I. Each of those graduates earned APR points for their former team, but often don't count toward the Graduation Success Rate or federal graduation rate because those rates only track students for six years after enrollment.
"An important aspect of the Academic Performance Program is how it encourages schools to welcome former students back to campus so that they can complete their degrees," said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia, who serves as chair of the Division I Committee on Academics. "Though these students are not included in graduation rates, they obtain lifelong benefits from receiving a degree and the program's emphasis on their well being is exceptional."
Rates are an average of each school's performance for the past four years. National aggregates are based on all teams with usable data at the time of analysis.
Teams scoring below 930 can face consequences intended to direct additional focus on academics. Those penalties can include practice restrictions and playing-season reductions. The intention is to fill time that would have been spent on athletics with academic activities.
Seventeen teams in Division I will be ineligible for the postseason in 2017-18 due to their low APR scores, compared with 23 teams last year.
In 2017-18, 26 teams are subject to penalties for not meeting the minimum academic standard set by member schools. Some of the teams ineligible for postseason play are among those subject to penalties. In 2016-17, 31 teams took penalties.