The NCAA released its 2007 Academic Progress Report yesterday, and although some Division I basketball and football teams from Philadelphia did not achieve the target score of 925, none will be penalized with the loss of scholarships.
The latest scores reflect a three-year period. The 49 teams across the country that did not meet the APR standard this year received warning letters.
Not surprisingly, big-budget schools fared well in the ratings. Low-budget, historically black colleges and universities accounted for about 13 percent of the schools that are facing potential scholarship losses or receiving warning letters because of poor classroom performance.
Thirteen of the schools that received warning letters came from hurricane-stricken Louisiana.
Last week, the NCAA board of directors approved an annual fund to hand out $1.6 million in grants to underfunded schools.
When the NCAA levied sanctions for the first time to teams that failed to meet APR requirements last spring, the Temple football team had to forfeit nine scholarships. With a score of 802, the Owls were among 99 squads that paid a price. Temple had a roster of 76 players instead of 85 last season.
In the latest APR report, the team's three-year score was 858. More important, the Owls were up to 901 for the 2005-06 school year.
The NCAA had suggested upgrading services to student-athletes at schools that fell under APR requirements. Temple put together a new academic advising team before this season and designated more rooms for study halls and tutoring.
Temple's scholarships were restored for head coach Al Golden's second season.
The Owls had suffered in the APR because of former coach Bobby Wallace's 2002 recruiting class. Wallace stocked up on junior-college players that season, and that class did not fare well academically.
Meanwhile, the men's and women's teams from Drexel, Villanova and Penn were cited last month by the NCAA for having multiyear APR scores in the top 10 percent in their respective sports.
Penn, which as an Ivy League school does not offer athletic scholarships, was not assigned an official APR score.
At Drexel, where men's basketball coach Bruiser Flint has seen 100 percent of his players graduate, academic recognition capped a 23-9 season.
"To have one of the best basketball seasons in Drexel history on the court, and then to be recognized for being in the top 10 percent academically off the court, is very special," said Eric Zilmer, Drexel's athletic director.
In men's basketball at St. Joseph's, there were mitigating circumstances that affected the APR score of 920.
Temple's men's team scored 908 on the APR. Owls officials could not be reached for comment.
Although St. Joseph's was below 925, three players transferred out of the program while in good academic standing over the last three years. Those losses lowered the team's score, but not as much as the losses of academically ineligible players would have done.
In the last three years - not counting transfers - only one St. Joseph's player did not graduate. That player was Jameer Nelson, who left school for the NBA after his junior season.
"The APR is a very good model for all us to track from semester to semester," said St. Joseph's athletic director Don DiJulia. "It makes sense. I would just like to see it tweaked so that athletes who [leave] in good standing don't take away from you."
The NCAA report is based on information on academic progress rates submitted by member institutions for the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years. The target APR score by the NCAA is 925. Temple's football program lost nine scholarships in 2006 because its score from 2004 to '05 was 802. It improved to 901 in 2005-06, which allowed the school to improve the three-year total to 858 and get the nine scholarships reinstated.
Here are the current APR numbers by school and sport.
School Football Basketball Basketball
Temple 858 908 941
Drexel NA 978 971
St. Joseph's NA 920 988
La Salle NA 928 971
Villanova NA 993 994
Penn State 960 950 945
Rutgers 971 943 957