Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 1:24 pm

Correction: Florida State's APR score

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Thursday I wrote a post in which I looked at the school's currently ranked in the preseason USA Today's coaches poll and their APR scores. I did this because with the NCAA's decision to raise APR requirements, it could mean that some big time programs could be in jeopardy of being ineligible for postseason play.

In the post I wrote that Florida State was the only school currently ranked that would not be eligible for postseason play, as the school's APR score was 927. THIS WAS A MISTAKE. Due to a calculation error on my part, I came up with the incorrect score for Florida State. The correct score for Florida State is 932.

This means that Florida State would be eligible for postseason play were the rule to go into effect right now.

I'd like to apologize to Florida State and any readers for my mistake, and I'd like to thank Associate Director of Communications at Florida State, Robert Wilson, for pointing it out to me and being understanding of the error.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 4:03 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 1:26 pm

APR scores and the Top 25

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: I incorrectly reported Florida State's APR score when originally publishing this post. You can see the correction info here.

As you've likely heard about in recent days, the NCAA has approved a plan to raise the required APR score of a school from 900-930 if that school wants to participate in postseason play. APR scores -- short for Academic Progress Rate --  are a way for the NCAA to measure how a school performs not on the field, but in the classroom. The 930 score the NCAA plans to use as the base requirement is calculated as an average of the last four years.

For the college football fan, though, the interest in this decision is a lot less about what an APR score is and how it's calculated, and more about how it affects the school they root for. CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy took a look at the 17 schools who didn't meet the 930 requirement in the 2009-10 school year, but I decided to take a look at the top 25 schools in the preseason coaches poll and list each school's average APR score over the last four years alongside them.

1. Oklahoma - 962
2. Alabama - 957
3. Oregon - 942
4. LSU - 965
5. Florida State - 932
6. Stanford - 976
7. Boise State - 974
8. Oklahoma State - 945
9. Texas A&M - 934
10. Wisconsin - 968
11. Nebraska - 950
12. South Carolina - 938
13. Virginia Tech - 940
14. Arkansas - 930
15. TCU - 968
16. Ohio State - 975
17. Michigan State - 941 
18. Notre Dame - 978
19. Auburn - 935
20. Mississippi State - 939
21. Missouri - 958
22. Georgia - 973
23. Florida - 971
24. Texas - 947
25. Penn State - 974

As you can see looking at the scores, only Florida State is currently under the new requirement of 930 with an APR score of 927. That means that if the new rule were to go into effect right now, no matter how well Florida State played this season, even if they qualified for the BCS National Championship, the Seminoles wouldn't be allowed to play in it.

So when one of the top five schools in the country isn't eligible, the rule change is a big deal.

Still, even though Florida State is the only school that would be ineligible, there are plenty of other schools hovering in the danger zone. Arkansas is right on the line at 930, and then there's Texas A&M at 934, Auburn at 935, South Carolina at 938 and Mississippi State at 939. That means that one bad year for any of those schools could see them ineligible for postseason play in the near future.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:03 pm

Embree wants players rewarded for graduating

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Last week at Pac-12 Media Days, conference commissioner Larry Scott echoed the thoughts of many and said that college athletics was at a crossroads. The newest head coach in Scott's conference, Colorado's Jon Embree, agrees but he isn't just sitting back and lamenting at the state of the game, he's putting forward ideas.

For all the talk about paying players and full cost of attendance scholarships, Embree is advocating a different approach that takes elements from both. Instead of paying players directly, he argues, how about giving players $50,000 or so upon receiving a degree for them to either further their education or get started in life.

"I think they should be rewarded for graduating," Embree told CBSSports.com. "If we're going to use the term student-athlete, if we're going to be releasing graduation rates, if we're losing scholarships because of APR, then let's put our money where our mouth is. They don't do anything special for the kids when they win.

"To me, that graduation piece is best because they're earning something: a degree. You're helping them setup themselves for the future. In the NFL, they might get one year, two years or none. But that degree will be with them. Then you'll have a decent amount of money to get a head start on life."

Embree likes tying money to graduation as a way of incentivizing education for coaches, players and schools. A former tight end at Colorado, he knows the challenges players face more than most and recognizes that a scholarship doesn't cover all of a student-athlete's living expenses. While he is receptive to full cost of attendance scholarships, Embree is very much against giving players "spending money" on a weekly basis.

"A scholarship only covers so much," he said. "I don't believe you can pay the student-athletes a monthly stipend and keep it fair across the board. You start doing that, then one guy things he should get $300, another guy thinks it should be $500."

The concept of giving players money upon graduation is not a new one. Many have advanced the idea that those players who's jersey is sold (i.e. the ones the school is really making money off of) would receive a cut of the money upon graduation or leaving for the NFL. The idea of tying the money to something like jersey sales is a no-go for Embree however.

"No because what will happen is that they'll start selling jerseys in the book store that isn't a guy that's playing," he said. "They'd get around that. There's no doubt that college athletics is at a cross roads. A lot of money is made off these kids, me included. I don't know what all the answers are but they need some kind of equity. Just something."

Some food for thought for NCAA president Mark Emmert and 50 college presidents when they meet for a retreat on athletics later this month.

Posted on: June 19, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:49 pm

Mushnick doesn't know what he's talking about

Posted by Adam Jacobi

(Lest this all comes across as purely a defense of Rich Rodriguez on the grounds that he too is now part of the CBS Sports family, the scenario of former Florida coach Urban Meyer being hired by ESPN fits Mushnick's argument quite nicely too, so feel free to replace "Rich Rodriguez" with "Urban Meyer" and "West Virginia" with "Florida" when necessary.)

Permit me, if you will, to not take Phil Mushnick's latest diatribe seriously. In it, Mushnick (a columnist for the New York Post, which, yeah) excoriates the CBS Sports Network for hiring former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez, noting that Rich Rodriguez recruited Adam Jones and Chris Henry at West Virginia. If that seems like a peculiarly weak argument, well, let's have Mushnick make it himself:

The same Rich Rodriguez who regularly recruited and indulged criminals and assorted bad boys as the head coach at West Virginia and then Michigan?

Yeah, that one.

Pacman Jones and the late Chris Henry, for example, starred for Rodriguez at WVU. Both would accumulate rap sheets as thick as playbooks. But such players helped land Rodriguez the gig at Michigan, where the stadium they call "The Big House," began to take on the other meaning.

For one, Michigan's three years under Rich Rodriguez weren't characterized at all by excessive crime, so while the "Big House" crack would seem clever to someone operating with no knowledge of the situation, it's so transparently false that it doesn't even make sense. Lame jokes aside, Chris Henry and Adam Jones did accumulate substantial criminal records... as NFL players. While at WVU, Jones received probation for one fight, and Henry's worst transgressions were limited to unsportsmanlike behavior on the field. Hardly the stuff of rap sheet legend.

As for the other "criminals and assorted bad boys" that Rodriguez "regularly recruited," what is Mushnick even talking about? Sure, what Pat White and Steve Slaton did to Georgia's defense in the 2006 Sugar Bowl ought to be illegal, but this notion that Rodriguez turned Morgantown into Compton, West Virginia is basically a figment of Mushnick's imagination and nothing more.

Mushnick then bizarrely claims that -- again, this is a quote -- "few college presidents, ADs or head coaches could beat racketeering indictments," then offers no evidence before moving on. As Wikipedia would say, [citation needed].

The rest of his argument is spent on basically making the case that there should be no such thing as college athletics at all; it's the only conclusion possible when Mushnick conjures up the bogeyman specter of big-time athletes having "no other business enrolled in the college" while ignoring the 939 APR (essentially, a student-athlete retention rate of at least 94%; here's how it's calculated) Rodriguez left West Virginia with in the spring of 2008. That's essentially the average across the NCAA, and it's considerably higher than the general student retention rate in higher education, where over 40% of incoming students fail to graduate. Now, there's a difference between remaining academically eligible year-by-year and actually graduating, but by and large, NCAA student-athletes seem to be outperforming their fellow students in the classroom. Not bad for a bunch of thugs.

Mushnick's column is a perfect encapsulation of low-information stereotypes of NCAA athletics. It is drive-by, tabloid moralizing. It has all the permanence, importance, and elegance of last night's dinner floating by in the sewer. It is, in the words of William Faulkner Shakespeare, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  

Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 1:39 pm

APR rankings: Coach by conference

CBSSports.com compiled the APR averages of 109 of the 120 coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) using data provided by the NCAA. CBSSports.com's study is based on the NCAA's available data between 2003-04 and 2009-10 so 11 coaches debuting this season were not included. Brett McMurphy's latest column shows that the ACC is getting it done.

Below is a list of each coach by conference:

Atlantic Coast

1. Dabo Swinney, Clemson 988
4. x-Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech 980
7. Frank Spaziani, Boston College 978
8. x-David Cutcliffe, Duke 976
13. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest 969
29. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State 959
30. x-Mike London, Virginia 958
33. Butch Davis, North Carolina 956
41. x-Randy Edsall, Maryland 951
(tie). x-Tom O'Brien, N.C. State 951
59. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech 943
83. x-Al Golden, Miami 931

Big East

4. Greg Schiano, Rutgers 980
21. x-Paul Pasqualoni, UConn 964
26. y-Bill Stewart, West Virginia 960
50. Doug Marrone, Syracuse 948
54. x-Todd Graham, Pittsburgh 945
62. x-Skip Holtz, South Florida 941
74. x-Butch Jones, Cincinnati 936
109. Charlie Strong, Louisville 869

Big Ten

2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern 986
13. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin 969
17. Joe Paterno, Penn State 967
18. x-Danny Hope, Purdue 966
19. x-Jerry Kill, Minnesota 965
21. Bill Lynch, Indiana 964
26. z-Jim Tressel, Ohio State 960
31. Bo Pelini, Nebraska 957
41. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa 951
51. x-Ron Zook, Illinois 946
59. x-Brady Hoke, Michigan 943
68. x-Mark Dantonio, Michigan State 939

Big 12

39. Gary Pinkel, Missouri 953
45. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 950
48. x-Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech 949
57. x-Art Briles, Baylor 944
62. Mack Brown, Texas 941
74. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State 936
80. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M 933
94. x-Turner Gill, Kansas 926
95. Bill Snyder, Kansas State 925
102. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State 919


11. Mark Richt, Georgia 972
19. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State 965
34. x-Nick Saban, Alabama 955
41. x-Les Miles, LSU 951
57. Kentucky's Joker Phillips 944
66. x-Bobby Petrino, Arkansas 940
68. x-Derek Dooley, Tennessee 939
71. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina 937
78. x-Gene Chizik, Auburn 934
(tie). x-Houston Nutt, Ole Miss 934
James Franklin, Vanderbilt n/a
Will Muschamp, Florida n/a


31. Kyle Whittingham, Utah 957
34. Jeff Tedford, California 955
45. Rick Neuheisel, UCLA 950
62. Chip Kelly, Oregon 941
66. Mike Riley, Oregon State 940
71. x-Paul Wulff, Washington State 937
82. Steve Sarkisian, Washington 932
92. x-Lane Kiffin, USC 927
95. x-Dennis Erickson, Arizona State 925
98. Mike Stoops, Arizona 924
Jon Embree, Colorado n/a
David Shaw, Stanford n/a


3. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy 981
23. x-Rich Ellerson, Army 963
80. x-Brian Kelly, Notre Dame 933
89. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU 928

Mountain West

6. Troy Calhoun, Air Force 979
9. Chris Petersen, Boise State 975
16. Gary Patterson, TCU 968
26. Mike Locksley, New Mexico 960
37. Steve Fairchild, Colorado State 954
71. x-Bobby Hauck, UNLV 937
83. Dave Christensen, Wyoming 931
89. x-Rocky Long, San Diego State 928

Western Athletic

34. Greg McMackin, Hawaii 955
48. Pat Hill, Fresno State 949
54. x-Gary Andersen, Utah State 945
(tie). Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech 945
70. Chris Ault, Nevada 938
86. Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State 930
92. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State 927
95. Robb Akey, Idaho 925

Conference USA

12. Bob Toledo, Tulane 970
39. George O'Leary, UCF 953
45. x-David Bailiff, Rice 950
59. Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina 943
77. Doc Holliday, Marshall 935
88. Larry Fedora, Southern Miss 929
89. x-June Jones, SMU 928
99. Kevin Sumlin, Houston 923
100. Mike Price, UTEP 920
106. Neil Callaway, UAB 904
107. Larry Porter, Memphis 903
Bill Blakenship, Tulsa n/a


14. x-Dave Clawson, Bowling Green 969
24. Tim Beckman, Toledo 961
(tie). x-Pete Lembo, Ball State 961
51. Dan Enos, Central Michigan 946
(tie). Frank Solich, Ohio 946
62. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan 941
103. Ron English, Eastern Michigan 918
(tie). Jeff Quinn, Buffalo 918
108. Rob Ianello, Akron 900
Steve Addazio, Temple n/a
Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois n/a
Darrell Hazzell, Kent State n/a
Don Treadwell, Miami, Ohio n/a

Sun Belt

10. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee 973
37. Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky 954
74. Mario Cristobal, Florida International 936
83. x-Dan McCarney, North Texas 931
86. Larry Blakeney, Troy 930
100. x-Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe 920
103. Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic 918
Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State n/a
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette n/a

APR rankings by conference

1. ACC 961.7
2. Big Ten 959.4
3. Mountain West 954.0
4. SEC 947.1
5. Big East 942.9
6. MAC 940.0
7. WAC 939.3
8. Pac 12 938.8
9. Big 12 937.6
10. Sun Belt 937.4
11. C-USA 932.5

x-NCAA's APR data was from coach's current and/or previous schools between 2003-10
y-Stewart resigned from West Virginia on Friday
z-Tressel resigned from Ohio State on May 30

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: May 24, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 2:39 pm

Maryland, Louisville hit with APR penalties

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Tuesday, the NCAA released their latest APR report. The NCAA measures Academic Progress Rate (APR) as a way to more accurately identify academic success, based on the eligibility and retention of each scholarship student-athlete. The NCAA was proud to announce this year that football's average four-year APR is up from last year, as is basketball and baseball.

But the annual report of four-year scores does not always bring good news, particularly for some BCS football programs. Failing to score above certain APR thresholds will result in penalties for a team, ranging from scholarship reduction to restrictions on practices or worse, postseason bans.

Both Maryland and Louisville are among the football programs that will be penalized for failing to meet those standards in the most recent APR calculations. Both schools will be docked three (3) scholarships immediately, and could face further punishment if they do not improve their scores over the coming year.

Click here to access the NCAA's full APR database
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com