Four Penn State teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Four Penn State teams have received a Public Recognition Award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for earning high scores in the most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) compilation.

The Penn State squads recognized by the NCAA are: field hockey, women's cross country, women's golf and women's tennis. All four teams earned APR scores in the top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport during the 2010-11 academic year.

The Nittany Lion women's tennis team earned its seventh straight NCAA Public Recognition Award. Coach Dawna Denny's squad is one of only 209 teams among the 6,403 eligible (3.2 percent) that has earned seven consecutive Public Recognition Awards since the program began with APR data from 2004-05.

Coach Char Morett's Penn State field hockey team was honored with an NCAA Public Recognition Award for the fifth consecutive year and sixth in the seven years of the program. Coach Denise St. Pierre's women's golf team and Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan's women's cross country squad each earned their third NCAA Public Recognition Award.

Penn State has had at least four teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards in all seven years of the program.

The aggregate 2010-11 Academic Progress Rate data for all NCAA Division I institutions will be announced later this month.

The NCAA's APR is designed to track the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship at a particular institution. It accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation to provide a measure of each team's academic performance.

Last year's data revealed Penn State student-athletes make better progress toward graduation compared with the nation's Division I institutions, despite higher academic standards than required.

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 32 Big Ten Championships during the past seven years and are tied for a nation's-best 11 NCAA titles since March 2007, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:

• The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide in October, 2011 revealed that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to an 80 percent average for all Division I institutions. The 88 percent figure was third-highest among Big Ten Conference institutions.

• The NCAA four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 79 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 64 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten institutions.

• A total of 240 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2011-12.

• A total of 62 current and former Penn State student-athletes graduated this past May.

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Last Updated June 19, 2012