Five Penn State teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Award for high APR score

April 13, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Five Penn State teams have received a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA for earning high scores in the most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) compilation, including the Nittany Lions’ two most recent NCAA championship squads.

All five teams earned multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport through the 2014-15 academic year (data from 2011-12 through 2014-15).

The five Penn State squads recognized by the NCAA are: women's cross country, women’s hockey, women’s soccer, women’s tennis and wrestling. The women’s soccer and wrestling programs have captured NCAA championships during the past four months.

Penn State is the nation’s only Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institution that has two NCAA championship teams from the past two years (2014-15 and 2015-16) that received an NCAA Public Recognition Award for the 2014-15 academic year. Duke, Georgia, Stanford, UCLA, Villanova and Virginia are among the schools that have had one national championship team the past two years that was recognized by the NCAA for its multi-year APR score.

The NCAA also recognized the Nittany Lion women's cross country, women’s hockey, wrestling teams with Public Recognition Awards last year. Led by Coach John Gondak, the women’s cross country team has earned six consecutive Public Recognition accolades.

The NCAA has recognized a total of 69 Penn State teams with a Public Recognition Award since the program’s inception in 2006. Penn State has placed fourth or higher in the number of Big Ten Conference teams earning a Public Recognition Award in all 11 years of the program, tying for fourth in the 2014-15 compilation.

The women’s tennis squad, coached by Chris Cagle, has earned a Penn State-high 10 NCAA Public Recognition Awards in the 11 years of the program. The field hockey team, led by Char Morett, has been honored nine times and women’s cross country program has been recognized seven times. The women’s golf squad, led by Denise St. Pierre, and the wrestling program, directed by Cael Sanderson, are next with six NCAA Public Recognition Awards.

Penn State has had at least four teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards in all 11 years of the program. Twenty-one of Penn State’s 31 programs have earned at least one NCAA Public Recognition Award since the program’s inception.

The aggregate 2014-15 Academic Progress Rate data for all NCAA Division I institutions will be announced later this month.

Penn State’s NCAA Public Recognition Award Recipients for 2014-15: (Multi-year Academic Progress Rate score in top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport):

  • Women’s Cross Country
  • Women’s Hockey
  • Women’s Soccer
  • Women’s Tennis
  • Wrestling

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 each term to provide a clear measure of each team's academic performance.

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 24 Big Ten championships and conference-best seven NCAA titles since September 2012, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:

  • Penn State student-athletes again broke the school standard during the 2015 fall semester, with a record 516 earning a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher (previous high of 500 in 2014). Among the 516 Nittany Lion student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 GPA, 234 garnered Dean's List honors during the 2015 fall semester by posting a GPA of 3.50 or higher, the second-highest semester total in school history.
  • The combined average GPA was 3.11 among Penn State's 31 varsity sports during the 2015 fall semester and a record-tying 23 squads earned a team GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • A total of 159 Penn State student-athletes have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors thus far in 2015-16, including a school record 79 among the winter sports teams. During the 2014-15 academic year, Penn State had 277 academic all-conference honorees last year and paces the conference with 5,436 Academic All-Big Ten honorees since 1991-92.
  • Last October, the NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide revealed Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to the 83 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2005-06 through 2008-09.
  • Penn State’s 191 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time rank No. 4 among all Division I institutions. Haleigh Washington (women’s volleyball) and Tyler Yazujian (football) were CoSIDA Academic All-America honorees last fall.
Last Updated April 15, 2016