Yesterday, a report from a television station in Oregon accused the university of delaying the expulsion of three basketball players that were accused of gang-raping a student at the school in order to prevent a hit to their APR score.
Not surprisingly, the school denied the report, calling it “inaccurate”, but what cannot be disputed is that the timing of the expulsions limited potential damage to Dana Altman’s basketball team.
You see, the way the APR works is this: Each scholarship player is capable of earning two points per semester, or four points per academic year. They get one point for being in good academic standing and one point for returning to the school the following semester, meaning that each year, one player can potentially earn four points. A team’s APR score is the total number of points earned divided by the total number of potential points.
Having a player leave the program in the middle of the school year — whether it’s due to transfer, turning pro or, in this case, expulsion — costs the team a point, but the NCAA created a loophole. If that player leaves the program in good academic standing and ready to continue his educational career at another school, the potential point is waived. In other words, if you leave school at the end of a semester with good grades, your contribution to the APR is three out of three potential points instead of three out of four potential points. When there are only a maximum of 52 potential points for a roster with 13 scholarship players, saving that point can be critical for a team on the brink of a bad APR score.
Because with the NCAA’s new focus on athlete education, a program needs a four-year average APR score higher than 930 to avoid sanctions, which, as UConn found out the hard way two years ago, can include a postseason ban.
What that means is that Oregon was backed into a corner here, which gives us another example of why the NCAA’s APR rules are just plain dumb.
Three athletes were accused of committing an absolutely heinous crime, but they weren’t convicted of anything, which means that Oregon is forced into a decision: expel those three athletes immediately, potentially damaging the longterm success of the program and in the same breath punishing the rest of the team that did absolutely nothing wrong, or allow the three students that didn’t even have charges filed against them to finish out the academic year before sending them on their way.
It’s a tough spot to be in, and while I don’t necessarily agree with the way that the school opted to handle the situation, I think that it says a lot more about how poor the APR rule is than it does anything about Oregon.
And remember, that’s coming from the only national college basketball writer that publicly called for Dana Altman to be fired.