NCAA releases coaches report card

Updated: August 5, 2010, 5:58 PM ET
Associated Press

Kentucky coach John Calipari got mostly passing grades on his report card.

West Virginia's Bob Huggins did even better, earning perfect marks each of the past two seasons.

The two men, often criticized for their players' academic performance, had better-than-expected scores in the NCAA's first Academic Progress Rate for coaches. On Thursday, the NCAA released coaches' scores in six sports -- baseball, football, men's and women's basketball and women's indoor and outdoor track -- from 2003-04 through 2008-09.

Calipari and Huggins were both satisfied with their results.

"It's hard to argue with our numbers," Calipari said Wednesday on his website.

Some coaches had complained they alone should not be held accountable for their players' grades.

Apparently, NCAA officials agreed.

The NCAA did not release average scores for coaches, in part, over concerns about statistical anomalies. For instance, in academic years in which there was a coaching change, both coaches received the same score. Calipari and Billy Gillispie each received a 922 for 2008-09.

And none of the coaches will be penalized for substandard scores because teams that consistently fall below the mandated cutline, 925, are already being punished.

Walter Harrison, chairman of the committee on academic performance, said the governing body should not penalize coaches based on the scores, which NCAA officials said are being released primarily to help provide recruits and their families with more information about academics.

"With the release of these APR portfolios, we are calling attention to the success of coaches and having transparency. I personally feel that is right, that we should not go further," Harrison said on a conference call. "I personally think, for some of the reasons you just mentioned and the fairness of it, there are a lot of people responsible for academics, so I'm comfortable with where we are."

Most of the top men's basketball programs had little to quibble with.

Thirteen teams in this year's final AP Top 25 basketball poll, including all the 2010 Final Four teams, produced perfect scores of 1,000 in 2008-09, the most recent numbers. Butler coach Brad Stevens had three straight perfect marks, while Duke's Mike Krzyzewksi, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Huggins all scored 1,000 two consecutive years.

"It's a commitment by the athletic department and the university to supply the resources to help the players succeed academically," Huggins said in a statement released by the West Virginia athletic department. "I commend our guys not only for their performance on the floor but in their academic work in the classroom as well."

Calipari also did better than expected, topping 925 each of his final three seasons at Memphis. He had a 980, 1,000 and 960.

But Connecticut's Jim Calhoun, whose program is under NCAA investigation, had an 844 and 909 after scoring 981, 978, 889 and 941 the previous four years. Tim Floyd, USC's coach during the O.J. Mayo scandal, had a 949 in 2007-08, the year Mayo played in Los Angeles. The year before, Floyd's score was 804.

Former Hoosiers coach Kelvin Sampson, who left Indiana amid a major NCAA scandal, had only two scores topping 900 on the books. His low, 811, came in his final season with the Hoosiers.

Twenty-four of the 25 teams in this year's final AP Top 25 football poll also topped 925. The exception: Brigham Young, whose coach Bronco Mendenhall had a 910.

Former Trojans coach Pete Carroll, at the center of another USC recruiting scandal, topped 925 all six years, including a 971 in the 2008-09. Nick Saban, coach of national champion Alabama, had a 972. Mack Brown, whose Texas team lost to Alabama in the BCS title game, had a 959.

All of it, Harrison said, points to one conclusion.

"Some people say that coaches don't care about academics. That is not true," Harrison said. "I know from our baseball, men's basketball and football working groups that coaches feel very strongly about their students' academic progress, and academics is the first thing they often ask about on the recruiting trail or when they meet with recruits."


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