Failing Grades For State

You’ve probably seen some stories about this by now – the NCAA released their new report on academic performance at member schools. The report uses a complicated standard called the Academic Progress Rate to combine lots of factors into one tidy score. The score is out of 1000 and the NCAA says that 925 is the cutoff for a passing grade. Anything under that risks sanctions like loss of scholarships.
For a good list of links about these numbers and a handy chart of all ACC teams and how they did in the three major men’s sports, check the Georgia Tech Sports Blog. The News & Observer has a similar table, but includes East Carolina and women’s basketball.
The most interesting thing, to me, that you’ll see in these tables is just how poorly NC State performed. It’s embarrassing. (The N&O noticed too).

Out of eleven ACC schools, NC State has the worst numbers in football and basketball and comes in tenth in baseball. None of their scores in those sports meets NCAA standards. They are the only ACC school to miss in all three sports. Only Clemson missed in as many as two.
Generally, when people associate football schools with poor academic performance. The ACC has four unabashed football schools, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami. Not surprisingly, those four schools are in the bottom five of the conference in their average score. NC State is worse than all of them by a fairly significant amount.
What’s going on in Raleigh? I’m not surprised about the football scores as Chuck Amato has been very aggressive in his recruiting tactics, taking guys that other schools couldn’t or wouldn’t take. You’d expect that to show in academic performance. I don’t like it, but I’m not shocked.
In basketball, State is coached by a man who famously earned summa cum laude honors from Carnegie Mellon University. The man is smart and clearly values education. So, what’s going on, Herb Sendek? Yes, State has had a lot of transfers, but unlike in the federal graduation rates used in the past, transfers don’t hurt these numbers much.
One rallying cry State fans used for years, mostly back in the Les Robinson days, was that while the Pack sucked on the court, they ruled in the classroom. While that claim didn’t stand up to much scrutiny then (if you took Todd Fuller’s 4.0 out, the rest of Robinson’s teams had a GPA in the low to mid 2’s – hardly Rhodes Scholars) it certainly falls down now.
The bottom line, State isn’t pulling its weight on the court and is performing even worse off of it. Since the symptoms seem to be across the whole department, fingers need to be pointed at athletic director Lee Fowler.

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