Athletes’ academic requirements toughen, UNF is more than ready

Spinnaker

While the NCAA has raised the Academic Progress Rate (APR) required for postseason
play, UNF’s lowest-scoring sports satisfy the new requirements.

Set for the 2014-15 season, the new four-year APR required will be 930, up from 900.
UNF’s men’s soccer and basketball teams, having been guilty of missing the 900 mark
in past years, have drastically brought up their scores and are prepared for the new
requirements.

The move to the 930 four-year rate is an attempt to bring college athletes’ focus back to
where it belongs, said Emily Newell, NCAA public and media relations spokesperson.
The idea was originally accepted in August 2011, but the plan for implementation was
adopted in October 2011.

The plan states that teams must achieve a 900 four-year rate or a 930 average over
the two most recent years to be eligible for postseason play in the 2012-13 and 2013-
14 seasons. By 2014-15, teams must have a 930 four-year rate. The article explaining
the new requirements on the NCAA’s website stated that 99 men’s basketball teams would be
ineligible for postseason play under the new requirements.

UNF’s men’s basketball and soccer teams would have been included in the list of teams
ineligible under the new requirements. The latter team received a public notice penalty
for having an 833 single-year rate and an 893 four-year rate in the 2008-09 season.

Athletic Director Lee Moon was hired in the beginning of 2009 and fine-tuned the
program’s academic procedures.

Moon brought in new head coaches with a different recruiting mindset for the men’s
basketball and soccer teams. He limited the number of transfer and foreign players in
both programs.

“We’re not selling our souls to win,” Moon said. “I won’t allow us to take people that
won’t graduate.”

Moon brought in two more academic advisers and strengthened the athletic
department’s relationship with the Academic Center for Excellence. He requires athletes
to get over a 2.5 GPA but allows coaches to set their own standards as long as they
aren’t lower than the 2.5 minimum.

Men’s basketball Head Coach Matthew Driscoll said the APR was low in the team’s first
four years of Division I because it was ineligible for postseason play and acquired multiple transfer students — a factor that lowers a team’s APR scores.

“It’s hard to keep kids when you have nothing to play for,” Driscoll said.

Now, with three years of Division I postseason eligibility, Driscoll has the team
performing well academically. Under Driscoll, the APR single-year rates reported for the
team are 980 in 2009-10 and 979 in 2010-11, bringing its multi-year rate up to 951 from
899 in 2008-09.

Men’s soccer Head Coach Derek Marinatos also has his team performing well off the
field. In his first season as head coach, the team reportedly earned a 970 single-year score,
bringing the multi-year rate to 924.

Marinatos requires players to meet with an academic adviser once a week and to
maintain a 3.0 GPA. He said performance is not the only thing that will make UNF
athletics great.

“If we want to be the best in team in the conference,” Marinatos said, “we have to be the
best in everything we do, on and off the field.”

 

 

Jordan Harirchi, Assistant Sports Editor

Email Jordan at [email protected]