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Hampton ineligible for NCAA football playoffs in 2012
Low APR triggers penalty… remedies set, Harvey says
The opening of football practice is more than a month away, but it’s already certain that Hampton University’s postseason drought will extend to six seasons. The Pirates learned Wednesday that they are ineligible for the playoffs for failing to meet NCAA Academic Progress Rate requirements.
Hampton is one of only three Division I schools whose student-athletes are ineligible for the 2012 Football Championship Subdivision postseason, and two are from theMid-Eastern Athletic Conference. MEAC school North Carolina A&T also fell below the required four-year APR average of 900 for postseason eligibility, as did Texas Southern of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The NCAA calculates the APR of sports teams each academic year based on the eligibility and retention of student-athletes, and rates them over a period of four years. Hampton’s four-year average is 881, significantly lower than its average of 916 a year ago.
A primary reason for the drop-off is the 2010-11 football team’s APR of 851, following a 902 APR by the ‘09-10 team. So the NCAA hit the Pirates with Level One penalties, which include postseason ineligibility and practice restrictions so that the team can focus on academics.
Those restrictions are the loss of four hours of practice time one day per week that must be replaced with academic activities. Hampton President William Harvey said that he has been aware for some time that the football program might not meet APR requirements, and added that steps are already under way to improve the team’s academic performance.
“As you know, I am on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors,” Harvey said. “I remain a staunch advocate for higher academic standards in all sports programs. The fact that Hampton’s football program will be penalized does not change that stance at all.
“We need to make sure that Hampton’s football program will meet the NCAA academic standards in a very short period of time, just as all of our other men’s and women’s athletic programs already do.
“We have to make sure that academic enhancements are in place. That could mean more tutors or technology.”
Asked if the changes also mean increasing the academic standards for incoming recruits, Harvey said that also is already happening.
“Our staff has been instructed to keep in mind academic considerations as well as athletic for next year’s recruiting class,” Harvey said. “I’ve talked with our coaches and tutorial staff, and they think our APR will improve significantly very shortly.”
Asked if any coaches or other football staff were reprimanded or fired because of the APR shortcomings, Harvey declined to comment.
“If that were the case, it’s a personnel matter and we do not comment (publicly) about personnel matters,” Harvey said.
Coach Donovan Rose said that he has no comment at this time, but might comment later.
While the NCAA penalties are difficult, they are much less severe than the Level Three penalties levied against North Carolina A&T. In addition to the same penalties as Hampton, the Aggies could also be hit with further restrictions on practice, financial aid and recruiting, as well as a potential multi-year postseason ban.
While the playoff ban is a first for Hampton, the football program has lost a total of 14.3 scholarships since 2004-05 for failure to meet APR standards. The program lost more than six scholarships for its 2009-10 multi-year APR average.