Florida A&M University’s Men’s Basketball Team took a step backward this semester when two players of the 15 player roster were declared academically ineligible to play in the Spring 2017 season. Meeting the APR, or Academic Progress Rate has been an ongoing issue for some of the university’s athletic teams.
Director of Rattler Productions, Vaughn Wilson, is hopeful that student-athletes on the men’s basketball team will continue to see how important academics are for the future of the team. Wilson explains that even if players are out for just one semester, the team still has the opportunity to participate in NCAA activities.
“This year is not calculated this year. It’s actually calculated next year because they have to wait until the end.” Wilson said. “So even if a player is out this year, it won’t affect you. When you get that sanction, it’s a four year average.”
The APR Sanction, tracked by the NCAA, holds schools accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes. According to the NCAA website, each student athlete who gets financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for staying eligible, which are calculated into the APR. Besides the yearly score there is a four year rolling score. Post the 2015 season, teams must have a four year score of 930 to be able to play in the championships
In the past, four of FAMU’s six men’s athletic teams were ineligible to participate in the NCAA postseason play, including the MEAC championship game. In early 2016, the football program earned back the ability to have full spring practice for the 2017 season.
In May of 2015, the NCAA placed the men’s basketball on Level 3 sanctions. According to the NCAA website, these sanctions included a reduction in games. The NCAA lifted the ban on men’s basketball team the beginning of 2016 after having been banned since the 2014 season. The men’s basketball team ended the 2013-2014 school year with a multi-year score of 905.
Since the 2014 ban, FAMU athletics has been more adamant about students meeting their requirements. The FAMU Athletic Academic Advisement Center ensures that each class is checked to make sure athletes are attending and that study halls are correctly monitored.
Associate Athletic Director for Academics and Compliance, Joyce Ellenwood, responded via email with the NCAA eligibility requirements that students must meet in order to play in any athletic sport. These requirements include progress toward degree requirements.