Vandal fans,

 

As website and internet communication continues to grow, I’ve decided to write a monthly letter talking about Vandal athletics. As we know, the internet is a great source of information but it, at times, can be a source of misinformation as well. These monthly communiqués are to set the record straight and talk to you – Vandal to Vandal.

 

Lately, there have been two hot topics – APR and season football tickets.

 

Let me explain our approach to football ticket sales and the Boise State game.

 

There are several factors behind our approach to football season ticket sales.  First, this is a year in which we must average the NCAA ticket sold requirement of 15,000 per game for our six home football games.  Second, we want to reward our loyal season ticket holders and students.  Season ticket holders can buy two single-game tickets to the Boise State game for every season ticket they purchase.  For example, if you have two Idaho season tickets, you are entitled to purchase as many as four single-game tickets to the BSU game.  As always, Idaho students are granted free admission to all Vandal sporting events. When students return to campus this fall, they will be able to buy one guest pass for the BSU game and pick up their own free ticket. To purchase tickets, go to www.govandals.com.  Finally, we need to follow a plan that has been successful in other athletic departments across the country.  Many schools have adopted policies that place a premium price on rival games or preclude the selling of single game tickets to these games.  We have chosen to package tickets to the Boise State game with season tickets, Pick Three or the Gem State Twin Packs to reward fans who show their strongest support.  

 

Now, the APR (Academic Progress Report).

 

Because of the recent news coverage regarding the loss of scholarships for our football program and men’s basketball program, I think it is important to educate supporters of the University of Idaho about the Academic Progress Rate (APR) and its impact on our Athletic Department. 

 

First what is the APR and how is it calculated?  Every team has an APR.  The APR calculation is fairly simple.  Every scholarship student-athlete has the opportunity to earn two APR points per semester or four points in year  – one each semester for meeting academic progress toward a degree (eligibility) and one each semester for staying in school or graduating (retention).  The number of APR points earned is then divided by the total number of possible APR points in a particular sport.  For example, women’s basketball has 15 scholarships and 60 possible APR points (15x4).   Assuming four players left the program but were eligible upon their departure, the program would have lost four retention points and earned an APR of 933 (56/60).  When that number falls below a 925 (92.5 percent), when averaged over 4 years, this becomes a red flag to the NCAA.   Programs averaging less than a 925 must submit academic improvement plans to the NCAA and may be subject to contemporaneous penalties (loss of scholarships).  Programs that fall below 900 may be subject to historical penalties (loss of scholarships, limited recruiting, loss of practice time).  The NCAA may also impose penalties to programs that fall below a 925 and have athletes that are 0 for 2’s (did not earn and eligibility or retention point).    Teams can be penalized a maximum of 10 percent of the scholarships available in a sport. Football, for instance, is allowed 85 scholarships and could have a maximum of nine scholarships taken away for a given season. 

 

The University of Idaho has a four-year average Academic Progress Rate (APR) over 16 sports of 952. This is the third highest per-sport average in the WAC and the highest per-sport average in the state of Idaho.  We sponsor 16 NCAA sports and of those, 13 currently maintain a 4-year average of at least 938. Among the 3 sports below the 925 cotemporaneous –penalty cutline, men’s basketball and football are subject to scholarship reductions. Men’s cross country is currently below 925 but scored a perfect 1000 APR in the most recent reporting cycle, 2006-07, and is not subject to any APR penalties.

 

Men’s Basketball had a single-year APR of 846 in 2006-07 and has a current multi-year rate of 880. The men’s basketball program is restricted to 12 scholarships for 2008-09, down one from the NCAA limit of 13. The program is making significant progress and we anticipate a 2007-08 single year rate of 959.  Our 4-year APR should then be at 899 and we should not be subject to historical penalties in 2009-10 due to our marked single-year improvement.   The loss of the basketball scholarship occurred when one of the players decided during the spring semester he was not going to return in the fall.  This individual had a 3.6 GPA in the fall but opted not to attend class after the conclusion of the basketball season.  He failed academically and we did not earn the retention point resulting in an 0 for 2.  Because the cumulative APR of the basketball program was under 925 we suffered a loss of scholarship.

 

Football had a single year APR of 861 in 2006-07 and has a current multi-year rate of 904. The football program is restricted to 22 initial counters and 77 overall counters for 2008-09, down three and 8 from the respective NCAA limits. These scholarship reductions were expected and the decision to remove student-athletes from the program at the risk of negative APR publicity was done because of the University of Idaho’s commitment to running a football program based on integrity and a commitment to developing true STUDENT-athletes.  It is important to remember when we hired football coach Robb Akey he was charged with returning the integrity and competitiveness to the program.  He had full administrative support when he dismissed a list of players for unacceptable conduct. Their violations of our code of conduct ranged from criminal activity to academic fraud to non-performance in the classroom.  As soon as this decision was made we knew that scholarship loss was a possibility.

 

True, we received a harsh penalty and appealed this penalty, but we knew in January 2008 where we stood with the NCAA.  However, we stand firmly behind the decisions that led to the dismissals of those players. Coach Akey and his staff were able to recruit the 2008 class knowing they had three fewer (22 instead of 25) initial scholarships and they would be able to offer eight fewer (77 instead of 85) total scholarships.

 

Our mission as an athletic department is to have competitive programs with great integrity. Our coaches are working diligently to rebuild our competitiveness. They took a huge step forward in ensuring the integrity of our program with the changes to the rosters.  Although we are disappointed with the NCAA’s ruling, we must also take responsibility for evaluating the character of student-athletes before offering scholarships.  We’ve taken tremendous strikes in improving our academic support services – from the registrar’s office to tutors to computer labs and all programs are assessing character as part of their recruitment process.

 

SPORT

UI

BSU

FRESNO

HAWAII

LA TECH

NEVADA

NMSU

SJSU

USU

ISU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVG.

951.69

947.66

928.2

950.33

927.38

955.61

935.53

925.88

953.06

937.31

 

 

Will we lose the same number of scholarships next year?

Every season is evaluated separately based on the four year rolling APR average.  As long as we don’t have any 0 for 2’s in the sports that are under 925 or we get our individual sport program average above 925 we will not lose any scholarships in subsequent years. 

 

  

 

On another note ...

This is the time of year we’ll be out and about visiting with Vandals everywhere. This weekend, I’m in Boise for the Ada County Vandal Scramble with basketball coach Don Verlin; football coaches Robb Akey and Mark Criner, and Tim Mooney,  Mahmood Sheikh, Nat Reynolds and Becky Chandler from the Vandal Scholarship Fund and Vandal Boosters. You can call Becky at 208-364-4073 or e-mail her at becky@uidaho.edu if you want to join us. Even if you don’t play golf, you can come to the Saturday night banquet and auction.

 

You also might want to make note of our other early summer activities, which include the June 6 Chorizo Challenge at Mountain Home, the June 9 Buhl Pig Out, the June 12 Latah County BBQ, the June 13 Canyon County Scramble, and the June 14 McCall Vandal Golf Scramble and Barbecue.

 

Check the Vandal Scholarship Fund list at www.govandals.com for details and contact information.

 

In closing ...

It was great having Otis Livingston back on campus this past weekend.  We would like to extend our congratulations to him on his induction into the University of Idaho’s Alumni Hall of Fame. Otis has risen to the top of his profession as a sports broadcaster after helping lead Idaho to the 1990 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  With his degree in telecommunications, Livingston became a sports broadcaster and now is sports anchor for "Today in New York"  on WNBC-TV in New York City, the No. 1 market nationally.  He also has contributed to NBC Sports coverage of the NBA and Stanley Cup finals, the World Series, the U.S Open Tennis championship, and the Athens and Torino Olympic Games.

 

Go Vandals!