UH makes academic strides, but baseball takes hit


POSTED: Thursday, May 07, 2009

While working to improve the Hawaii basketball team's fortunes on the court, head coach Bob Nash has already overseen a dramatic turnaround in the classroom.

The Rainbow Warriors posted a perfect score of 1,000 in the Academic Progress Rate for the 2007-08 school year, a year after the program lost a scholarship and faced additional penalties if its score didn't improve.

“;We're just doing our job, which is to get guys to understand academics is important and leaving the program without a degree is not something that's acceptable,”; Nash said.

“;Any time you have success it's gratifying, and certainly this is part of the process. They're student-athletes and it's the student part of it that really matters.”;

The APR is calculated based on eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes on scholarship. Teams falling under 925 over a four-year average — roughly translating to a 60 percent graduation rate — and that have student-athletes leave while academically ineligible (referred to as an 0-for-2) face losing scholarships. Those under 900 are subject to further penalties if the score doesn't improve.

The men's basketball team could have faced practice limitations after posting an 821 in 2006-07 to drop its cumulative score to 889 and draw a public notice from the NCAA, the first stage of the NCAA's “;historical penalties.”;

Instead, the Rainbows were among eight UH teams that turned in a perfect mark in 2007-08, along with the men's golf, men's tennis, women's basketball, cross country, softball, volleyball and water polo teams.

The women's volleyball team earned recognition from the NCAA for hitting 1,000 for three straight years and leads the 18-team department with a multi-year score of 996.

The baseball team was the only UH program to be penalized in the latest report. The Rainbows will lose a partial scholarship for having an 0-for-2 player, leaving them 11.43 for next season out of a possible 11.7.

But the program was also among the most improved, posting a single-year score of 991 to raise its four-year mark to 922. The Rainbows' scores were 892 (single year) and 901 (multi-year) in the 2006-07 report.

“;I credit our kids and (academic advisor) Stephanie Miller with the job that they've done,”; head coach Mike Trapasso said. “;We continue to improve on it and we'll hopefully continue to do so in the future.”;

The football program avoided penalties for the first time in four years and had a single-year score of 956 to jump to 935 in the multi-year score.

Nash and football coach Greg McMackin credited the academic staff (advisors Conred Maddox in basketball and Jennifer Matsuda, Trina Kudlacek and Sara Nunes-Atabaki in football) and cited an emphasis on summer school for contributing to the academic improvements.

With the football program moving above the multi-year benchmark of 925 for the first time, McMackin said the Warriors' freshman class posted a grade-point average above 3.0 last season.

“;The APR is here to stay and it's something we have to take seriously,”; McMackin said. “;We have to continue to get better and we're headed in the right direction.”;

The baseball and men's basketball programs are the only UH teams still under 925, both at 922.

Five of the basketball team's seven seniors from its 2007-08 team have graduated, with the other two on track to finish by this summer. Three scholarship members of this year's team are leaving the program, but the team can avoid losing points if those players maintain a 2.6 grade-point average and transfer to a four-year school.