Arizona athletics and academics

In their first year under coach Rich Rodriguez, the Arizona Wildcats had a better graduation rate than any other football team in the Pac-12.

The NCAA's Academic Progress Rate, released Tuesday, showed the UA's score of 980 topped the next-closest conference teams, UCLA and Stanford, which were tied at 978.

APR is calculated each year based on a team's player eligibility, graduation and retention rates.

The UA men's basketball team was one of four schools -Washington, Stanford and Arizona State were the others - atop the Pac-12 with a score of 1,000 over the past year.

While a year-by-year score is a good tool to judge real-time progress, the APR deals mainly in four-year cohorts, measuring the graduation rate of the last four classes.

From 2008-2012, the Wildcats men's basketball team logged a 969, sixth-best in the Pac-12.

The football team scored a 956, fifth-best in the league.

"Coach Rodriguez and his staff are committed to - and well-organized about - academics," UA athletic director Greg Byrne said. "The position coaches talk to their kids about it regularly, and then coach Rodriguez does it as a whole."

The Wildcats' women's gymnastics received NCAA recognition for a perfect 1,000 score over four years - the same mark it had in last year's report.

Two other UA teams - baseball and women's tennis - had the same four-year scores as last year.

Nine more of the 20 Wildcats teams measured by APR - football, indoor and outdoor men's track, women's basketball, women's cross country, women's golf, women's swimming and women's indoor and outdoor track - improved from last year's four-year rate.

"The numbers are trending pretty well," Byrne said.

Six years ago, the UA was the only Division I-A (FBS) football team in the country that was docked scholarships because of academic struggles. The baseball team also was punished.

Since then, the Wildcats have reformed their academic services division. When Byrne took over in 2010, he installed a class-attendance policy.

"I've had student-athletes tell me on the day they want to hit their snooze alarm, that's in the back of their mind," Byrne said about the policy.

Tuesday, the NCAA announced the national Division I APR moved up one point across all sports, to 974, from last year's four-year mark.

Nationally, the average increased two points in both men's and women's basketball. It stayed the same in football and baseball.

Connecticut, which missed the 2013 men's basketball postseason because of a failing APR score, qualified for participation Tuesday.

Ten schools - Alabama State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Florida A&M, Florida International, Grambling State, Mississippi Valley State, New Orleans, Norfolk State, Savannah State and Southern - will miss the postseason in six different sports.

Eight of the teams remain under NCAA review, so penalties could be eased.

The 10 schools penalized a postseason berth is down five from last year's 15.

The Arizona Wildcats' four-year APR from 2008-09 to 2011-12, as released by the NCAA on Tuesday:

Men's sports

Sport Last year This year Div. I average

Baseball 931 931 965

Basketball 975 969 952

Cross county 975 969 975

Football 951 956 949

Golf 1,000 982 974

Swimming 980 977 976

Tennis 975 967 974

Indoor track 935 948 965

Outdoor track 940 952 968

Women's sports

Sport Last year This year Div. I average

Basketball 925 935 972

Cross country 962 966 983

Golf 975 981 986

Gymnastics 1,000 1,000 989

Soccer 972 970 981

Softball 981 977 978

Swimming 965 977 986

Tennis 985 985 982

Indoor track 979 981 977

Outdoor track 977 979 978

Volleyball 990 971 980

Pac-12 football scores

Here's how the Wildcats' four-year APR score compares to the rest of the conference:

Stanford 978

UCLA 966

Utah 963

Oregon State 957

Arizona 956

Washington 954

Oregon 951

Colorado 946

USC 945

Washington State 942

Arizona State 937

Cal 935

Pac-12 men's basketball scores

Here's how the Wildcats' four-year APR score compares to the rest of the conference:

Washington 985

Stanford 984

Colorado 984

Utah 979

Arizona State 973

Arizona 969

Oregon State 965

USC 957

Washington State 957

Cal 955

UCLA 951

Oregon 918

making the grade

"The numbers are trending pretty well," Wildcats AD Greg Byrne says.


Arizona football's rank among Pac-12 schools

980, 974

Arizona football's APR score and the national average, respectively

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at or 573-4658. On Twitter @PatrickFinley