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APR numbers released; UConn again eligible for postseason play

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

The NCAA released its latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) numbers Tuesday. Across the board, the organization reports an uptick in grades and graduate numbers.

UConn, which made news last year when it became the first major-conference men's basketball program to fall short of the APR's requirements, will again be eligible for postseason play. The Huskies, who will enter their second season under coach Kevin Ollie, put up a 947 score in 2011-12, making for a 962.5 average over two years -- clearing the 930 two-year bar of qualification.

UConn could not play in any 2013 postseason contests despite a 20-10 record because of the school's 889 four-year APR in the 2012 APR report. The school's most recent four-year APR average is now 897.

In college basketball specifically, the sport has signaled the highest boost in APR in the past five seasons against every other collegiate scholarship sport, upping its average score 12 points (952). The most recent report, however, still leaves six schools ineligible for the 2014 postseason. Programs are banned from playoff competition if their previous four-year APR average doesn't crack the 900 ceiling. (A 930 average over the past two years supersedes that, however.)

The schools missing out next March will be:

Alabama State
Florida International
Grambling
Mississippi Valley State
Arkansas-Pine Bluff
New Orleans

Four of those schools are from the SWAC, which is entirely comprised of HBCUs. (Read more on the NCAA's goals with HBCUs here.) New Orleans is reintroducing itself into Division I after a two-year reprieve below the D-I level. Florida International is the only other non-SWAC school on the ban list. FIU will be kept out of the Conference USA (where it moves to next season) and other postseason tournaments next year due to its dip in APR during Isiah Thomas' tenure as head coach.

(The FIU athletic director is none too happy about it.)

"The number of student-athletes who left school while ineligible has decreased significantly each year since the APR began and is now at an all-time low," per the NCAA's report. "Over the past nine years, the rate of baseball, men's basketball and football student-athletes who have left campus while ineligible has been roughly cut in half. Only 2.1 percent of all student-athletes represented in the 2011-12 data left school while academically ineligible."

You can search for any school or league's APR in the NCAA's database here.

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