Under new rules passed by the NCAA on Thursday, the national men's basketball champion Connecticut Huskies wouldn't have even been eligible for the Big East Tournament, let alone March Madness. The NCAA announced that over the next five years, Academic Progress Rate will be incorporated as a component of postseason eligibility. That includes football bowl games.
The nuts-and-bolts details of the new rule:
For access to post-season competition in 2012-13 and 2013-14, teams must achieve a 900 multi-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years to be eligible.
In 2014-15, teams that don't achieve the 930 benchmark for their four-year APR or at least a 940 average for the most recent two years will be ineligible for post-season competition.
In 2015-16, the 930 benchmark for post-season competition participation - and additional penalties - will be implemented fully. The APR requirement for post-season competition participation would be waived only in extraordinary circumstances.
UConn's APR last time around was 893.
APR is a metric used to determine how many of a team's players are progressing toward graduation. For more on just what APR aims to calculate, I'll turn you over to Wikipedia. Whether it's actually resulted in any classroom production, or at least enough to make up for its many weaknesses, is another story. For one thing, APR hurts the most successul programs by penalizing for players who excel enough to turn pro early. Not to mention it causes one player's dropout to reflect poorly on an entire team and a head coach's career.
Previously, the NCAA had only punished schools with scholarship losses for APR shortcomings. Being unable to play for a title or in a bowl game is a much harsher penalty than playing with one or two fewer scholarship athletes.
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