There’s nothing that warms a parent’s heart like your kid acing a final, and the same should be true for fans of the student athletes at our favorite colleges. In that regard, Wednesday was a mighty good day, with my daughter getting a 91 on her biology final and UGA’s athletic program getting a fine report card from the NCAA.
Not only did all 20 of Georgia’s teams beat the minimum required 925 score in the Academic Progress Rate data covering the 2005-2005 through 2007-2008 school years (with 12 of them improving their showing over last year), but the football Bulldogs had the best score in the SEC with a 976, seven points ahead of the second-place Brainiacs at Vandy. That put the Dogs in a tie with Penn State for the best score among last season’s Top 25 teams. The women’s cross country team posted UGA’s highest APR score with a 996, earning a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA. And the basketball Lady Bulldogs also topped the SEC with a 986, again seven points ahead of Vanderbilt.
Wow. And Bob Dylan’s new release entered Billboard’s national album chart Wednesday at No. 1! Good day, indeed.
The APR measures eligibility, retention and graduation of student athletes competing in Division 1 and serves as a predictor of graduation success. Teams that fail to meet the minimum score are subject to penalties, such as the loss of scholarships announced Wednesday for Ole Miss’ football team and Georgia Tech’s basketball team. You can check out the NCAA’s APR report here.
One of the more notable results to me was UGA’s troubled men’s basketball program ranking fourth best in the SEC with a 945. Considering how many players left the program during this period under former coach Dennis Felton, that’s just plain remarkable and a tribute to the work Damon Evans’ staff is doing on the academic side.
I imagine it’s too much to hope that the loss of scholarships on North Avenue will reduce the number of sanctimonious posts here from Bug fans touting their athletes as scholars and putting UGA’s down as dumb jocks, but at least they have to know what a hollow ring their braggadocio has.
Bulldog Bites: Mark Richt addressed the Macon Bulldog Club Wednesday night and put a positive spin on all the uncertainty about his team in the upcoming season. “I think the fans are just excited about the unknown,” he said. “They’re not really sure what to expect, but they’re anxious to see a lot of young players step up and make their mark.” I think he used the right word in “anxious,” but I have to say I think scooting along under the radar like the 2009 Dawgs are doing in the pre-season is preferable to last season’s hype. Watching underdogs succeed is always more fun. … Of course, some teams thrive on No. 1 rankings and exalted expectations, and fortunately the Gym Dogs are one of them. If you’d like to see them snag UGA’s fifth consecutive national championship and 10th overall, CBS will televise the videotaped NCAA Gymnastics Championship 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. … Has the silly season of off-field misbehavior begun for the football Dogs? UGASports.com is reporting that tight end Bruce Figgins, defensive end Justin Houston and wide receiver Tony Wilson each will be suspended for an undetermined period after violating team rules. However, Richt would not confirm the suspensions on Wednesday, saying through spokesman Claude Felton that “there is nothing to report” at this time. If the report is true, having Houston, the surprise of spring practice, miss playing time at one of the Dogs’ most worrisome positions definitely would be a setback.