"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Transfers, the NCAA, and Loss of Scholarships.

Whenever players leave MU, people wonder if the departures will impact MU's scholarship limits with the NCAA. In a program launched in 2004, the NCAA requires that programs meet standards for academic progress and returning players the following year.

The good news is that despite seeing Ryan Amoroso and Matt Mortensen depart, MU is in no danger of losing a scholarship.

To understand why requires a bit of analysis as to the makeup of the NCAA's requirements. The NCAA requires that teams meet an "academic progress rate" (APR) of 925. That means that MU must attain 92.5% of the possible points for a) keeping players academically eligible, and b) returning them for the following semester.

The APR consists of two components: Academic eligibility and returning for the next semester.

Each player on the roster has a potential to earn 4 points per season--one each for staying academically eligible for the first and second semesters, and one each for returning the following semester.

A player like Dominic James, expected to return for the 06-07 season, will earn 4 points for MU.

A typical transfer player like Ryan Amoroso or Dameon Mason earns 3 points (out of 4 possible) for MU's APR. One for being academically eligible for the fall semester, one for returning for the spring, and one for staying academically eligible in the spring semester. This player does not earn the point for returning next fall.

A player who leaves at the end of the first semester with good academic standing earns 1 of 2 possible points. One for staying academically eligible--but no point for returning the following semester.

Finally, a player like Niv Berkowitz, who leaves mid semester without completing his classes earns zero points. But, MU is only penalized with the possible total of 2 points. So Niv was likely a 0/2 player--not a 0/4--as he only played 2nd semester. He had no possible points in the first semester.

Assuming our senior class completed their classes for the 2nd semester, MU's points this year look like this:

Steve Novak: 4 of 4
Dominic James: 4 of 4
Jerel McNeal: 4 of 4
Wes Matthews: 4 of 4
Joe Chapman: 4 of 4
Ryan Amoroso: 3 of 4
Dan Fitzgerald: 4 of 4
Ousmane Barro: 4 of 4
Jamil Lott: 4 of 4
Mike Kinsella 4 of 4
Chris Grimm: 4 of 4
Dwight Burke: 4 of 4
Matt Mortenten: 3 of 4:

Team Total for this year: 50 of 52. That equates to an APR of 961.

However, the NCAA looks at this number on a two year rotating basis. We need to include our 04-05 roster:

Travis Diener: 4 of 4
Steve Novak: 4 of 4
Dameon Mason: 3 of 4
Joe Chapman: 4 of 4
Ryan Amoroso: 4 of 4
Todd Townsend: 4 of 4
Marcus Jackson: 4 of 4
Ousmane Barro: 4 of 4
Niv Berkowitz: 0 of 2
Mike Kinsella: 4 of 4
Chris Grimm: 4 of 4

Total of 39 of 42.

Finally, the APR for the 03-04 season, was affected by transfers to the point where MU fell below the 92.5 limit:

Karon Bradley: 3 of 4
Carlton Christian: 3 of 4
Brandon Bell: 1 of 2
James Matthews: 0 of 2
Scott Merritt: 4 of 4
Steve Novak: 4 of 4
Terry Sanders: 4 of 4
Joe Champan: 4 of 4
Travis Diener: 4 of 4
Dameon Mason: 4 of 4
Chris Grimm: 4 of 4
Marcus Jackson: 4 of 4
Todd Townsend: 4 of 4

Team Total: 43 of 48.

The three year total is 132 of 142 possible points, for a total of 92.9%. The NCAA reports this number as an APR of 929--ever so slightly ahead of the NCAA minimum of 925. This number will be reported in February or March of 2007, to determine scholarships for the 2007-08 season.

Calculating these numbers shows why Crean is a stickler for holding up a scholarhip release until a player makes his grades. If Mason or Amoroso had left school without completing their coursework, they would have been 2 of 4 on the season. That would have dropped MU to an APR of 915.

There's one more confusing factor--the "squad size adjustment." The NCAA realized that in the initial implementation, schools may be penalized for transfers or academic casualties that occurred in the 03-04 season--before the new rules were put in place. This was especially prevalent in small squad sports. The NCAA developed something called a "squad size adjustment", so that MU was not penalized for the transfers that occurred in the 04 season.

For example, the two year report on MU issued in February (and based on the 03-04 and 04-05 seasons) shows MU with an APR of just 918. However MU didn't lose a scholarship because of the application the "squad size adjustment." The NCAA expects to eliminate this adjustment when 4 years of data are available.

Finally, the NCAA will implement the APR on a 4 year rolling basis beginning with the 2007-08 season. Next year, MU's APR will be based on the 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 seasons. After that, the 2003-04 season will be dropped, and data from the 2007-08 will be incorporated.

Like most NCAA rules, the application of the APR can be a bit confusing at first. However, schools like MU who insist on academic progress even for transferring players, should not be hurt under the new rules. Its only the schools that see players flunk out who will be hurt.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Great stuff

Anonymous said...

A very thorough post on a complicated issue. Thanks!