Eight Penn State teams earn awards for high Academic Progress Rate

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Eight 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, men’s cross-country, men’s tennis, men’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field, women’s cross-country, women’s golf and women’s tennis. All eight teams earned APR scores in the top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport during the 2011-12 academic year.

The eight honored teams are Penn State’s second-highest total in the eight years of the NCAA Public Recognition Award, trailing only the nine honored squads from 2009-10.

Penn State’s eight honored teams were second-highest in the Big Ten. Northwestern was the only conference school with more than the Nittany Lions. Penn State has placed fourth or higher in the number of teams earning a Public Recognition Award in all eight years of the program.

The Nittany Lion women’s tennis team earned its eight straight NCAA Public Recognition Award. Coach Dawna Denny’s squad is one of only 166 teams among the 6,408 eligible (2.6 percent) that has earned eight consecutive Public Recognition Awards since the program began with APR data from 2004-05.

Coach Char Morett’s field hockey team was honored with an NCAA Public Recognition Award for the sixth consecutive year and seventh in the eight 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 fourth NCAA Public Recognition Award.

Penn State has had at least four teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards in all eight years of the program. The aggregate 2011-12 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.

Penn State student-athletes, who in 2012-13 have captured a school record 11 conference titles, including eight Big Ten Championships, 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 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 NCAA four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 78 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 64 percent and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten institutions

-- A school-record 296 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2012-13

-- A total of 109 current and former Penn State student-athletes graduated this past May.

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Last Updated June 05, 2013