Report: UCLA in danger of missing 2021 NCAA tournament through APR

As if things weren’t already bad enough for the UCLA program.

After an embarrassing end to Steve Alford’s tenure — he was fired on New Year’s Eve with a 7-6 record — led to an even more embarrassing coaching search that saw the Bruins fail to pay the payout for two coaches that wanted the job, get used by John Calipari to earn himself a lifetime contract at Kentucky and end up with Mick Cronin more than 100 days after the job came open, there now comes a report from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News that the program is in real danger of being ruled ineligible for the 2020 NCAA tournament.

The issue is the team’s APR score.

Last week, the Pac-12 announced the multi-year APR scores for each of the programs in the conference, and UCLA checked in with a score of 933. A perfect score is 1,000, and no other team in the conference has a score below 958. More importantly, a score that drops below 930 results in the program being ineligible for the NCAA tournament.

And this is where the trouble lies for UCLA.

The way that 933 number is determined is by an average of the program’s APR from the previous four seasons. According to Wilner, this is what it looks like for UCLA:

  • 2015: 942
  • 2016: 907
  • 2017: 977
  • 2018: 905

The single-year APR score for the 2018-19 season will replace the 942 from the 2014-15 season for next year’s four-year rolling average, and if 2018-19’s score falls below 928, the 930 threshold will be broken.

And there’s an actual chance that this happens. The APR measures eligibility and retention, and every time a player leaves the program early, through the draft or a transfer, without completing academic requirements or returns to the program academically ineligible, the APR gets dinged. This is extremely relevant for UCLA, as Kris Wilkes, Jaylen Hands and Moses Brown are all currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

You probably thought that having three players get arrested for trying to shoplift during a conference-sponsored trip to China was the most humiliating thing that could happen to the program John Wooden built.