The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

June 13, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU has its academic ship on course

MORGANTOWN — In the real world the initials APR stand for annual percentage rate, a term with which everyone who has a car loan or home mortgage is quite familiar, but in the world of college athletics it is a term that has a somewhat a different meaning.

APR stands for Academic Progress Report and, in a way, it is similar in that collegiate coaches can find themselves living on borrowed time if they do not have a solid APR.

Now the APR is a complicated calculation of academics, eligibility and retention of scholarship athletes.

If you are interested in how it is calculated, my compadre Mike Casazza at the Charleston Daily Mail explained in his Wednesday blog and I’m sure he’d appreciate the hit on his site. Suffice it to say that it is an important item that athletic directors pay attention to, but somewhat dry compared to writing about Geno Smith’s efforts to win the New York Jets starting job or Tim Tebow’s adventures that have brought him to Bill Belichick in New England.

There have been times over the years when West Virginia’s APRs were somewhat shaky, resulting in penalties that include losing scholarships or practice time in offending sports.

Oliver Luck, the athletic director, being who he is — which is a former Academic All-America quarterback and a Rhodes Scholar candidate — promised upon taking over at WVU that academic progress would be a priority.

With that there have been a number of changes in the way academics were approached, especially in football, and Luck apparently put the ship on course.

In this last report, WVU came in a four-year APR of 973, which is not how many yards Tavon Austin accounted for against Oklahoma this year, but what you would call a passing grade in APR, being just a single point below the national average.

Things truly have changed. You might recall the reputation Bob Huggins’ basketball teams had at the University of Cincinnati, word circulating that no one in the program had graduated since Oscar Robertson was at the school, a rumor Huggins strongly denied.

But he really wasn’t turning out Rhodes Scholar candidates, and there have been some easy come, easy go recruits at times at WVU.

It was only a couple of years back, too, when coach Craig Turnbull’s wrestlers actually drew penalties.

In this year’s report, however, basketball and wrestling joined women’s basketball, cross country, gymnastics, and indoor and outdoor track and field in posting one-year marks of 1,000.

The academics turned in by the athletic department actually gave it more to be proud of than its performance on the athletic fields, and if you spelled W-V-U Y-A-L-E you probably wouldn’t hear anything in the way of complaints.

College is, after all, a place to learn.

Isn’t it?

Luck will tell you it is, but even he needs a football team

that doesn’t get slapped around like this past year’s team did or a basketball team that is looking up at a .500 record and doesn’t make it to post-season play.

And that has me worried.

Luck is smart enough to know that his job doesn’t hinge on the APR.

Graduates are great. NFL or NBA draft choices are better.

Right now the emphasis is on fixing the problems in basketball and football and they have taken the approach of looking for a quick fix by going for an influx of junior college athletes.

Now if these players are the athletes you think they are, it must be understood that it was academics that probably put them into junior college … meaning many of them are potential academic problems.

In the end, the coach is charged first with winning, second with winning and third with winning, but for the sake of the kids who are getting an opportunity to learn and earn a college degree along with being winning football players, let’s hope that keep a balance between academics and athletics to live up to what the full college experience is supposed to be.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter at bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos