According to a lengthy report from KATU, a television station in Oregon, alleges that the Oregon waiting to expel three players accused of gang-raping a student at the university to protect their APR score.
Damyean Dotson, Brandon Austin and Dominic Artis were alleged to have assaulted the female student at two different locations on a weekend night last March, but it wasn’t until three months after the allegation, on June 23rd, that they were expelled from the school.
The delay in the expulsion of the athletes protected the APR score for the basketball team. The APR — Academic Progress Rate — is the way that the NCAA measures academic performance of athletic teams. In simple terms, a score of 1000 means that 100% of the student-athletes on a team remained eligible and returned to school. For every athlete that is ineligible or that doesn’t return to school, the program loses points. A four-year average below 930 or a two-year average below 940 would result in a postseason ban for the program, per NCAA rules.
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Oregon had already lost two players to a transfer, and while Ben Carter and A.J. LaPray reportedly had grades that were high enough that it wouldn’t hurt Oregon’s APR, the final score is based on a percentage. With only 13 players on scholarship, basketball already has a very limited margin for error when it comes to APR scores, and that margin only got smaller with Carter and LaPray leaving. Losing points by expelling the accused players earlier could have put the Ducks in a position to receive a very, very low score.
[APR expert John] Infante, in fact, wrote two blog posts in the late spring speculating that the Ducks were in serious danger of facing a postseason ban. After the On Your Side Investigators showed him a timeline of the Ducks’ actions lined up with key APR dates, he changed his mind.
“I think the dates where the different steps to suspend them from the team and to dismiss them from the university – they certainly line up with significant dates on the APR calculation,” Infante said. “Now that could be from the fact that it’s harder to kick someone out of school than it is to kick them off an athletic team or remove their scholarship.
“But I think it does bear pointing out that the way that this happened, whether it was coincidence or deliberate, does coincide with the way the APR is calculated in a way that could help Oregon avoid an extremely low score and some of the more significant penalties.” (My emphasis added)
There’s no debate here that waiting until June 23rd to expel the three players accused of sexual assault helped Oregon’s APR. The question is whether or not Oregon did this consciously to protect to future of their team.
It’s also worth noting that Dana Altman, his coaching staff and Oregon’s AD all receive large bonuses for passing APR grades.
Oregon responded to these claims yesterday:
There are multiple errors in this story including inaccurate information about law enforcement activities, dates that should not be correlated to one another, and misrepresentation of the expertise of a retired UO faculty member.
The university took appropriate action when allegations were reported, and we are confident that our steps were necessary to ensure campus safety and integrity of criminal processes.
The story hypothesizes that the university’s actions were driven by the NCAA-required Academic Progress Rate, or APR. This is inaccurate and that fact was conveyed to KATU. APR is calculated on a rolling four-year average with the latest data from a previous year, which makes transfers or scholarship non-renewals have significantly less impact than characterized by the story.