June 12th, 2013 10:18 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: AAU, APR, Phillip Fulmer, SEC
Want to know what a football program must do to score highly on the NCAA’s academic progress reports? First, get kids to class. That’s obvious. Second, make sure those football players get consistent leadership from someone they respect.
The NCAA released the latest round of football APR numbers yesterday — the scores are a four-year rolling average from 2008-09 through 2011-12 — and here’s how the SEC’s schools fared:
1. Missouri 982 — The league’s newest member lived up to its AAU reputation in Year One. Gary Pinkel has been at Mizzou for more than a decade.
2. Alabama 978 — Not bad for a BCS champ, no? Nick Saban has been coaching (and winning) in Tuscaloosa since 2007.
3. Vanderbilt 973 — Would you expect anything less from Vandy? The Commodores had three coaches between 2008 and 2012, but, again, it’s Vanderbilt.
4t. Florida 968 — Another AAU school. Very good numbers despite one coaching transition.
4t. Georgia 968 — Not an AAU member but certainly one of the SEC’s more respected academic institutions. Also, Mark Richt has been running the UGA program for more than a decade.
6. Mississippi State 967 — Dan Mullen has been at State since 2009.
7. South Carolina 966 — Steve Spurrier is entering his ninth season in Columbia.
8. Texas A&M 954 — One coaching change, outside this window.
9. Auburn 950 — Another school with a coaching change this past season.
10t. LSU 944 — Les Miles has been in Baton Rouge for nearly a decade, so this number is a bit surprising. However, the Tigers have had a large number of NFL early-entrants in recent years.
10t. Ole Miss 944 — Houston Nutt entered in 2008 and exited after 2011. That’s basically two coaching changes within this APR window.
12. Kentucky 943 — Two coaching changes overall including this past offseason.
13. Arkansas 938 — Bobby Petrino gave way to John L. Smith who’s given way to Bret Bielema his offseason.
14. Tennessee 924 — Since 2008, UT has been coached by Phillip Fulmer, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley and now Butch Jones. The Volunteers are below the 925 penalty-line, but Jones and the school are already working to improve the program’s academic scores.
Bottom line? Stability at the top of the program leads to stability throughout the program. Coaching changes lead to transfers and that impacts APR scores. It’s no surprise that — for the most part — the programs with the SEC’s highest APR results have had the least amount of coaching turnover. That works in reverse as well.
On a sidenote, many coaches and athletic directors have APR- or other academic-related bonuses built into their contracts. Carolina’s Spurrier will get an extra $100,000 for his program’s score. LSU’s Miles missed out on a $200,000 bonus because of the Tigers’ low number, but he can still earn extra scratch if a good percentage of his players reach a specific GPA level or graduate on time.
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