Three FAU teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Award, all meet APR requirements

Rolando Rosa

FAU athletics may have struggled on the courts and fields, but they succeeded in the classroom this year.For the first time, all FAU teams passed the minimum Academic Progress Rates (APR) since it was instituted by the NCAA in 2004-2005. Last season, FAU football received a three scholarship reduction after scoring a 920.

This year, it bounced back to earn a 960, 35 points higher than required. Former head coach Howard Schnellenberger had the fifth lowest APR score in Division I college football between 2003-2010 with a 918.

Michelle Brown, the director of Student Athlete Center for Academic Excellence, was pleased with the APR scores for the football team this year.

“Of course we were struggling for a few years and we were recognized more for having penalties,” Brown said. “Now, however, we are much happier with the success of student-athletes at FAU. The Athletic Department is very proud of the scores. They are the result of a lot of hard work from different individuals such as coaches and counsellors.”

All 14 teams had APR’s higher than the required 925. As a result,  FAU football isn’t required to give up scholarships after losing nine in the last four years. Had FAU athletics gotten another poor APR score this year, there would be a loss of practice time, and in some cases, postseason bans if a program has a long-term history of poor APR scores.

Every year, the NCAA records the classroom performance of student athletes on every Division I team through the APR process. It measures the eligibility of students to play in Division I sports and retention each semester or quarter.

FAU women’s tennis, women’s cross country and men’s golf earned the NCAA Public Recognition Award. Each year, the NCAA honors teams with APR’s in the top 10 percent of their sport. The Owls were one of two Sun Belt women’s tennis teams to receive the award this year.

“We are thrilled to have three different teams achieve this award in the one year,” Brown said. “The university and its students have made a strong commitment to show both coaches and students the intricacies of the NCAA APR Program. We are very proud of all of our student-athletes.They are representing the university well and doing a great job inside the classroom.”

“I’m ecstatic for each girl and the hard work they put in on-and-off the court,” Marcy Hora-Cava, FAU women’s tennis coach, told FAUSports.com. “The girls always take books with them to practice and road trips during our challenging spring season. I am very proud with their dedication to their coursework.”

[Jordan Robrish contributed to the reporting of this story.]

[A previous version of this story stated the required APR score as being 900. It’s 925 and now corrected.]