By Stephen Tsai
The blog host was a marginal student who worked three jobs in college and took five years to earn a degree. The points are: 1) If the blog host, who apparently writes in the third person, can earn a degree, anybody can earn one, and 2) The NCAA's academic progress rate (APR) system is misnamed.
The intent was to track eligibility and retention. In short, it was set up to make sure athletes go to class and don't bolt or get booted from their teams. But the name gives the impression the system is about making sure students progress academically — becoming better students — when it is not. Like the blog host's UH tenure, it is about attendance and not intellectual escalation.
The APR starts off with the premise that each team has a perfect score until somebody leaves or is ineligible. It deducts a point for people who depart and an additional point for those leaving in poor academic standing. It does not reward good GPAs or a school's commitment. At UH, for instance, an incoming freshman can earn six credits before the start of the first semester by taking two classes in the bridge term during the summer. UH also provides a full ride — tuition, room and board, and a stipend — to a scholarship athlete for one summer session each year. In addition, the school provides tutors, counselors and study halls. That commitment, which is not unique at Division I schools, should be commended.
Of course, with a large group, there are those who won't stick around. Maybe it's a lack of transferrable credits. Maybe the school or program is not a good fit. Maybe certain classes are just too hard. The thing is,the measurement should be in whether a school is providing the resources and opportunity for an athlete to succeed in the classroom. Almost every school does that.
* * * * *
It is interesting when the APR formula is applied to head coaches, with points deducted for not staying through their contracts. Of course, the problem is that would mean the only perfect score would go to a coach who retires in good standing after completing his contract. That would mean football's winningest coach, Joe Paterno, would not receive a perfect score.
Of the past four UH head football coaches, here are the retention percentages:
Bob Wagner — 90 percent (18 of 20 contracted semesters)
Fred vonAppen — 75 percent (six of eight)
June Jones — 94.4 percent (17 of 18)
Greg McMackin — 80 percent (eight of 10)
Now factoring the penalties, their APR-like scores would be:
Bob Wagner — 800
Fred vonAppen — 500
June Jones — 940
Greg McMackin — 600
The scores don't reflect their value. Each made significant contributions to the football program.
* * * * *
Mahalo to Anthony Pollard for sending us photos of Royce Pollard's participation in the Jets' minicamp last week.
Here's Royce Pollard running a route against All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis:
Here's Pollard with a former Florida quarterback in the background:
Pollard and defensive tackle Sione Pouha:
Anthony Pollard and quarterback Mark Sanchez:
* * * * *
Happy birthday to Midori7, a great neighbor and great person.