Wildcats sports

For the first time since the NCAA began its academic tracking system eight years ago, both of the Arizona Wildcats' revenue sports were ranked in the Pac-10's top half.

The Academic Progress Rate report, released Tuesday by the NCAA, showed the Wildcats' football and men's basketball teams scoring higher than the national average.

Each team ranked fifth in the conference.

"Academic reputation in recruiting is very important," UA athletic director Greg Byrne said. "It's obvious by the efforts of everyone from our university that that's not a major issue for us going forward.

"But it's also important to remember that we have to stay focused."

The APR is a rolling four-year measurement of how well individual teams retain players and keep them academically eligible.

Each player is awarded up to four points a year based on academic eligibility. Teams' total scores are divided by the number of possible points. A 950, for example, equals 95 percent.

Teams can be penalized for scoring below 925.

Sean Miller's team scored a 950, five points higher than the national average and six higher than last year's score, which was tied for seventh in the Pac-10.

Mike Stoops' squad posted a 951, five points above the average and 11 points better than last year. The UA football team was ninth in the league last year.

Eleven of the Wildcats' 18 teams improved their scores from last year; two remained the same.

Tuesday's results measured a rolling four-year total ending with the 2009-10 academic year.

Since Byrne's arrival last year, the athletic department has made one major academic change - setting a mandatory attendance policy. Under the same rationale, Byrne said, he appreciates the APR.

"You have to get people's attention to make sure they understand the seriousness of performing well academically," he said.

Tuesday's report measured the scores of 6,400 teams across Division I.

Scores went up in every sport, but eight teams were banned from postseason play this upcoming season.

Cal State-Northridge, Chicago State, Grambling, Southern University and Louisiana-Monroe had their basketball teams penalized. Three football teams, Idaho State, Jackson State and Southern, were banned.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said APR has become a measuring tool used by schools and fans alike.

"For the first time in the history of intercollegiate sport," he said, "we have a common language and common expectations around academics."

Movin' on up

Eleven of Arizona's teams improved their Academic Progress Rate scores over last season, while two more remained the same. The APR measures a school's ability to retain athletes. A look at the scores:

Men's sports

Sport 2011 2010

Baseball 929 927

Football 951 940

Basketball 950 944

Cross country 975 992

Golf 971 959

Swimming 981 960

Tennis 961 951

Track (indoor) 940 949

Track (outdoor) 942 949

Women's sports

Sport 2011 2010

Softball 959 943

Basketball 932 932

Cross country 953 955

Golf 994 978

Gymnastics 991 991

Soccer 978 987

Swimming 971 973

Tennis 962 972

Track (indoor) 974 969

Track (outdoor) 970 962

Volleyball 986 975

In the middle

The Wildcats are ranked fifth in the conference in Academic Progress Rate scores for football and men's basketball:

Football scores

Stanford 977

Oregon State 959

UCLA 956

USC 952

Arizona 951

Cal 949

Washington 946

Oregon 941

Arizona State 940

Washington State 925

Men's basketball scores

Washington 980

Stanford 976

Washington State 971

Arizona State 961

Arizona 950

Cal 948

UCLA 948

Oregon State 939

Oregon 934

USC 912