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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Football to lose four more scholarships

    The Arizona football team will be penalized with a loss of four scholarships for the second year in a row due to scoring below the necessary threshold in the Academic Progress Rate released Wednesday by the NCAA.

    The UA football team was the only football program from a BCS school and the only team from any sport in the Pacific 10 Conference punished by the NCAA in the latest report. The score is composed of a combined score from three years of data, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06. Penalties will be doled out on a four-year basis once enough data is compiled.

    Three scholarships will be taken from the incoming fall class, but since Arizona recruited less than its allotment of 85 scholarships no incoming player will have his revoked.

    “”We never want to be in a position of losing scholarships in the football program,”” said UA associate athletic director Rocky LaRose. “”It’s not where we want to be. I’m not happy about it.””

    The football team scored a multi-year total of 883, below the 925 threshold that determines penalization and in the bottom 10 percentile of the sport.

    The APR takes into account two points when it comes to scholarship athletes, awarding one for athletes staying eligible and another for staying at the school on pace to graduate every semester. Players who leave the school on bad academic terms, or so-called “”0-for-2″” athletes, cost the school a scholarship if the team is below the 925 score’s upper confidence boundary, which takes into account the small sample sizes of some teams.

    That means four UA football players in the 2005-06 school year were 0-for-2 players because the program lost four scholarships.

    The baseball team, which had an 883 multi-year score, was the only other UA program to be outside of the upper confidence interval, LaRose said. But because no baseball player scored a 0-for-2, the baseball team will not lose any scholarships.

    Every baseball player from the 2005-06 school year either graduated or was retained and the 2006 annual rate was 72 points higher than the 2005 annual rate, LaRose said. That information is not released to the public.

    “”That’s tremendous progress,”” LaRose said.

    She also attributed the lack of success in football to the coaching change in which former UA head coach John Mackovic was fired in the middle of the 2003 season. Since the 2003-04 year was still counted in this year’s calculations, and will be in next year’s as well, the football program has quite a hole to dig out of due to the number of players who transferred before UA head coach Mike Stoops took the helm.

    But before the coaching change, LaRose said, the football program was in good academic standing.

    “”That’s where we want to be again, where we want to get in the future,”” she said. “”We knew it was going to take time.””

    LaRose said Arizona has undertaken a “”multi-faceted approach”” that includes overhauling the C.A.T.S. academic program.

    Every athlete considering going pro, transferring or leaving for personal reasons – all of which would lead to a 0-for-2 if the athlete leaves academically ineligible – meets with both their coaches and administration.

    “”We want to make sure they know how it impacts them academically and impacts their team,”” LaRose said.

    The Arizona football team was one of at least 112 programs punished of the approximately 6,000 NCAA squads, according to an NCAA press release. Nationally, penalties dropped from 3.6 percent in 2003-04 and 2004-05, to 3.3 percent for 2005-06.

    Other UA teams scored below the mark but were not penalized because their score still lay in the acceptable upper confidence boundary. Those squads are men’s outdoor track (899), men’s indoor track (903), women’s outdoor track (905), women’s indoor track (917) and men’s basketball (924).

    On the flip side, LaRose said the UA gymnastics and women’s tennis teams both recorded perfect scores of 1000 for 2005-06.

    This year marked the first time historically-based penalties were doled out, meaning team scores consisted of more than just the past year. Next year, penalties could include a loss of practice time, and after that teams could be banned for postseason play.

    LaRose said the APR was designed to induce change, not just to penalize programs, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t concerned about these possible ramifications.

    “”We don’t ever want to be in a position looking down the barrel at historical penalties,”” she said.

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