UH men’s basketball team hit hardest by APR
The Hawaii basketball team's past performance under the Academic Progress Rate has already cost the Rainbow Warriors two scholarships for next season.
For the 'Bows to avoid further penalties down the road, they'll need a big finish in the classroom from the team that just completed its season in March.
The program had its scholarship count drop from 13 to 11, according to the APR report released by the NCAA yesterday, and was among three UH teams hit with penalties this year. Football was docked one scholarship, though the program made a sizable jump in the 2006-07 academic year, and baseball lost 0.48 of its allotment.
Teams falling under a score of 925 (roughly translating to a 60-percent graduation rate) over the four-year reporting period and have players leave school while ineligible -- so-called "0-for-2s" -- are subject to penalties. UH's scholarship reductions are directly tied to the 0-for-2 players who left the basketball, football and baseball programs in the 2006-07 academic year.
Basketball came in at 889, football at 921 and baseball at 904. They were the only UH programs out of 18 to fall below the 925 benchmark.
The basketball program -- impacted by transfers, players who left school while ineligible and two who left to pursue professional careers -- was also given a public notice for falling below 900. A second "historical penalty" would lead to another scholarship reduction and limitations on practice time.
"The bigger issue is we're addressing the problem of taking ourselves out of this situation where we're losing scholarships," second-year basketball coach Bob Nash said. "Last year I sent our team to summer school, we have an academic coordinator, we have an academic improvement plan in place, so we think we have the instruments in place going forward where we won't have these issues."
Five women's programs -- basketball, volleyball, cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field -- posted perfect scores of 1,000 in 2006-07. A total of eight showed improvement in their cumulative scores over a year ago.
UH athletic director Jim Donovan, attending Western Athletic Conference meetings in Arizona, has been on the job for 40 days and is focused on remedying the lagging programs and maintaining the performances of the others.
"We're in the business of education. We want the culture of the athletic department to be that our kids make progress and graduate and the coaches we have on board are sincere in that goal," Donovan said. "We have some excellent scores and three we have to work on. (The scores are) over four years so it may take a while to fix them, but we're on top of fixing them."
Nash said the basketball team's penalty won't result in the program losing a player next season. The team completed its six-member recruiting class in late April, leaving one scholarship open. Nash said a player in the program had agreed to pay his own way to school next season and could be put on scholarship the following year. He declined to identify the player.
"We analyzed our whole situation and this was the best case for us to follow and he was in agreement with it, he and his family," Nash said. "We knew with the preliminary things going on that there might be that possibility (of losing scholarships). We had to re-evaluate our numbers and there was a chance we could get to a higher number that would have prevented us from getting scholarships taken away but we didn't reach that number. We kind of knew it was going to happen, it didn't catch us by surprise."
The academic performance of this year's UH team will be factored into the program's score next year. Bobby Nash and Stephen Verwers help the equation as graduate students. Matt Gibson is scheduled to graduate this semester with P.J. Owsley and Jared Dillinger looking to earn their degrees this summer.
The Warriors football team, though suffering a scholarship loss for the third straight year, provides an example of the gains possible in a year. The team posted a score of 980 in 2006-07 to raise its cumulative score from 902 to 921 in a year's time. That score was two years removed from a 869 showing, when five scholarships were lost.
"It's got to be the biggest turnaround in scholastic history," UH football coach Greg McMackin said. "We got one of the top scores in the country. We're really proud of that."
McMackin said the Warriors lost a scholarship because of a player who left school several years ago who wasn't in good academic standing -- an 0-for-2.
"It won't hurt this recruiting class," McMackin said.
UH lost five football scholarships in 2006 and one last year due to APR.
McMackin said he doesn't want to change his philosophy of trying to help unhappy backup players transfer to schools where they might have a better chance of playing.
"We're straight with them and if we can help them get somewhere we will," McMackin said. "But any transfer, you end up losing points.
"It's a tough rule. I hope there's some reform."
Other WAC basketball teams were hit hard.
The Fresno State (816) and New Mexico State (835) basketball teams received a second historical penalty in the latest report. Fresno State was limited to 10 scholarships and NMSU 12 and both are limited to 16 hours of "countable activity" per week, down from 20. San Jose State absorbed the same penalties as UH. Louisiana Tech and Idaho lost one scholarship each.
Nevada and Utah State were the only WAC schools to have all of their teams at 925 or higher.
Star-Bulletin reporter Dave Reardon contributed to this report.