SWAC Fires Back on APR Penalties

Six member schools from the Southwestern Athletic Conference will be banned from postseason competition in several sports in the 2015-16 academic season, thanks to Academic Progress Rate penalties announced this week by the NCAA. But conference officials and member presidents today responded to the NCAA’s sanctions, asserting that APR guidelines are imbalanced for institutions with limited academic development resources.

In a release, Texas Southern University President and SWAC Council of Presidents Chairman John Rudley criticized the NCAA for holding historically Black colleges and other limited resource institutions to similar standards for BCS and power conference Division I schools with higher budgets for compliance and academic development.

“The average graduation rate for all students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is 36 percent. The NCAA’s APR requiring a graduation rate for student athletes of 50 percent or better is set so high that most HBCU’s and other limited resource institutions cannot meet that standard.”

“The large, well-funded universities have hired large compliance staffs who literally escort athletes to class each day to meet the increased requirements. Our smaller institutions are severely handicapped without budgets to hire personnel for compliance and academic support. These increased regulations make it almost impossible for small schools with specialized missions to compete.”

“We are proud of what our Historically Black Colleges and Universities have achieved over the years, before and after segregation, with respect to transforming the lives of people of color and providing access to a college degree for under served students when others have not had such a mission. This is a case of one size cannot fit all, and the NCAA needs to continue to look for ways to ensure that the needs of all its member universities and our student athletes can be met.”​

The following schools will be barred from postseason competition next year:

Alabama A&M (Men’s Golf)
Alabama State (Men’s Basketball and Football)
Mississippi Valley State (Baseball and Football)
Southern (All sports based on unusable data)
Prairie View A&M (Football)
Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Football)