A History of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Academic Reform Movement and Analysis of the Academic Progress Rate in Division I-A Institutions




Singleton, Jill

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study investigates the accuracy and institutional variables that contribute to the NCAA academic reform measure, the Academic Progress Rate (APR). The APR is the NCAA's newest measure and it is meant to be a "real time" measurement of academic progress for student athletes that takes eligibility, graduation rate, retention, and progress towards degree into its calculation (Denhart, et al., 2009). After a historical review of NCAA academic reforms from the Savage Report through Proposition 48 and finally the policies enacted through the Academic Performance Program, a non-experimental quantitative secondary research analysis study of the APR was conducted. This study examined the 117 Division I-A institutions that participated the Bowl Championship Series during the 2004-05 season. The 2004-05 academic year was chosen because it is the first time the APR was officially published--and the student cohort corresponds to the most recently published federal graduation rate. Each institution was categorically grouped based on institutional characteristics to determine if there are differences in APR mean scores based on t-test and ANOVA analysis. Important variables that were investigated include enrollment size, admission standards, private vs. public institutions, athletic conference affiliation, athletic budgets, and teams' on-field performance. Results showed that the APR has too much error to be a viable way to determine academic success and did not increase the overall graduation rate of student athletes in revenue sports. Results from the categorically analysis warranted four major findings: admissions standards of the institutions greatly contributed to APR scores; the more money spent on athletics, the higher the APR scores; athletic performance does not matter in terms of APR scores; and football is the revenue sport that causes the most problems when it comes to academic issues and reform.



Higher education, Sports management, Academic progress rate, Academic reform, Athletics, NCAA