Detective work saves Oklahoma State from NCAA practice time penalty

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys were set to lose one day of practice per week this season, until someone discovered an overlooked factor.

Update, July 29: Some impressive research by Oklahoma State has resulted in an overturned penalty. Via OSU release:

The National Collegiate Athletic Association confirmed today that the Oklahoma State University football program Academic Progress Rate (APR) has been amended to a 930 and the school no longer faces any APR restrictions for the 2014-15 academic year.

Earlier this summer, OSU athletic department officials discovered the recent graduation of student-athlete from the 1990s, which resulted in the addition of a delayed graduation point to push the Cowboys above the threshold for restrictions.

... When the NCAA released its APR data on May 14, OSU football had an average score of 929.41 over the past four years and an average score of 943.54 over the past two years. The Cowboys had been facing a two hour loss of countable athletic activity and the loss of a practice day after falling less than one point short of the NCAA's minimum APR requirement.

That's pretty amazing. The internet reacts:

Original, May 14: Oklahoma State is the latest to fall victim to academic progress rate (APR) penalties, according to NewsOK and ESPN's Brett McMurphy. The Cowboys' football team will reportedly lose a day of practice each week in the upcoming season because it barely missed out on reaching the four-year APR threshold set by the NCAA.

OSU's APR over the past four years finished at 929.41, just below the threshold of 930 (929.5). It's actually an improvement from last year, when the Cowboys scored a 926 over the four-year period, but the NCAA raised the APR minimum from 900 to 930 for four years.

The team appears to have recognized the problem:

One factor impacting OSU over this four-year reporting period was players who remained on scholarship, yet focused on NFL Draft preparation in their final semester, while not completing their classwork. Dealing with those situations could become a focal point moving forward.

This isn't the first time the OSU program has been linked to poor academics. It came under particular scrutiny in a controversial Sports Illustrated report that detailed a struggle to keep certain players eligible.

As for the on-field impact, SI's Andy Staples detailed how the school could get around the sanctions.

And maybe it won't affect OSU as much as it would some other programs:

Still, this is a major penalty for a "Power 5" team, since the big schools typically can avoid APR sanctions. With the Cowboys breaking in a new quarterback, replacing seven starters on defense and opening with Florida State, they'll need all the practice time they can get.

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