By Doug Ireland, Northwestern State SID
The latest NCAA Division I-wide review of institutional academic performance by student-athletes brought national recognition to Northwestern State along with reinforcement of the overall excellent performance by student-athletes past and present, says director of athletics Greg Burke.
Three Northwestern State sports – men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s tennis – earned public recognition from the NCAA in May for recording four consecutive years of perfect scores in the Academic Progress Rate report. They stood first in Louisiana and the Southland Conference in the NCAA report.
Six NSU sports ranked in the top four among Louisiana’s 12 Division I athletic programs. Overall, Northwestern’s overall multi-year APR of 981 on a 1,000-point scale was third in Louisiana and sixth among the 13 Southland Conference member institutions.
The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility and retention and provides a measure of each Division I team’s performance compared to peers.
Since the APR’s creation in 2003, NSU is among a relatively small group of institutions that have never received public warnings or penalties for any sport falling below the benchmark score, initially 925, now 930.
NSU had two-thirds of its sport groupings rank at, or above, the NCAA mean in that particular sport (baseball, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, softball, Lady Demon soccer and Lady Demon tennis), according to a review compiled by faculty athletics representative Jody Biscoe.
“For NSU to be ranked highly in several sports on both a conference- and statewide level continues to reflect the culture of academic excellence that has been a mainstay of the NSU athletic program for many years. Furthermore, this most recent NCAA APR report is a tribute to the many individuals who played a role in this latest academic success story,” said Burke, who credited the NSU faculty, coaches, student-athletes and academic/compliance staff for their efforts.
Other noteworthy performances from NSU sports:
Demon football (963) ranked second in the state and conference with a 963 multi-year score.
Demon track and field (968) was third in Louisiana, fourth in the Southland.
Demon baseball (976) and Lady Demon track and field (980) both were fourth in the state and conference.
Lady Demon basketball (981) stood fourth in Louisiana, fifth in the Southland.
Lady Demon softball (986) ranked fifth statewide and in the conference.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services