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Academic penalty in past for proactive UTM women

Academic penalty in past for proactive UTM women
The UT Martin women’s basketball team has already served its time for its academic crime.
The Skyhawk women’s basketball team, whose Academic Progress Rate score of 922 (three points below the NCAA’s 925 cutline) was released on Wednesday, took their penalty — the loss of two scholarships — last season.
“When the (preliminary) APR numbers came out last year, we had a pretty good idea of where we going to be and that we might be penalized,” said Kevin McMillan, who took over the Skyhawk women’s team last year. “We decided coming in to not sign some players and take the penalty immediately to start with a fresh slate.
“Right now, it looks like when the first set of numbers come out in the fall that we’ll be well above 925 for next year and I expect the class we’ve got coming in to be great students for the university. We’re just going to have to deal with a couple of low scores from the past because this is measured in a four-year clip.”
The APR measures the classroom performance of every Division I team and this year’s data was collected from 2005-06 through 2008-09.
The newest Academic Progress Rate showed seven of the 137 teams facing penalties come from Bowl Championship Series conferences and only two power conference schools — Colorado and Syracuse — were sanctioned in football, men’s basketball or women’s basketball. Both schools said they have already taken the scholarship losses and won’t be affected next season.
There’s little doubt about the reasons for the disparity between big and small schools.
“It is clear resources make a difference and the schools that do have resources can make more timely adjustments,” NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon said. “We clearly have examples of low-resource institutions that were very successful academically, it’s not just money, but we’re trying to help.”
Assistance didn’t come quickly enough for Portland State, which lost an appeal to avoid a postseason ban in men’s basketball. Nine other schools, none from BCS conferences, all received waivers. A year ago, football teams at Jacksonville State and Tennessee-Chattanooga and the men’s basketball team at Centenary were the first schools to be banned from postseason play because of sub-par academic scores.
The APR is billed as a real-time academic measure of every Division I team. Each athlete receives one point per semester for remaining academically eligible and another point each semester for remaining at that school or graduating.
• Of the 20 schools facing reductions in scholarships or practice time or both, none are BCS schools.
• Florida International and Southeastern Louisiana each had seven teams sanctioned, the most in Division I. McNeese State was next with six. Cal State-Fullerton, Chicago State, Delaware State, Howard and Nicholls State all had four teams on the list. Georgia Southern, Portland State, Southern University, Southern Utah, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Texas-San Antonio each had three.
• Tennessee-Chattanooga avoided a second straight postseason ban in football despite scoring 885 because the team showed “demonstrated improvement” over last year’s score of 870.
“I am haunted by the challenges that low-resource institutions have in showing academic performance,” Harrison said. “We are looking for ways that will help them, so we’re doing everything we can, we believe, to help them. But it continues to be a nagging problem.”

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