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January 17, 2009 - NCAA to compile academic progress rates for coaches

In an effort to provide more detailed academic data about college head coaches in all NCAA sports, the association has approved the decision to compile individual Academic Progress Rates (APR) for coaches.  The data are intended to illustrate how well their players have fared in the classroom.  The APR reports are intended for use by recruits, their parents and prospective employers in evaluating coaches and programs, along with wins and other competitive and personal criteria.  According to the USA Today,  the coaches' APRs — "kind of like a lifetime batting average," said University of Hartford President Walt Harrison — are expected to be publicly available on an NCAA-affiliated website by summer 2010.  Producing a coaches APR is in response to the need to enhance transparency and accountability in academic progress of college athletes.

While basketball coaches have argued that faculty, tutors, and others on campus also play a part in an athletes' academic succces, proponents of the coaches APR maintain that coaches are responsible for recruiting athletes to a school and know and work with them most closely, and should thus be held accountable. Harrison, head of the NCAA academic committee overseeing the program, told the USA Today:  "We're not trying to say that the coach is the only person responsible for an APR. We presidents bear responsibility. Athletic directors have some responsibility. Academic support personnel and other athletic administrators have responsibility. But the coach has significant responsibility, and so we think this is a way to at least talk about what the performance of coaches is."