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Lobos shine in APR; NMSU football penalized

They study … they stay … they score.

The University of New Mexico exceeded minimum requirements of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate in all of its varsity sports and will incur no penalties for the 2014-15 academic year, according to data released Wednesday.

New Mexico State was not quite so fortunate. The NMSU football program has a four-year rolling average score of 915, 15 points below the minimum required to avoid a penalty, and will lose a day of practice each week this fall.

According to UNM, this is the fourth consecutive year in which the school has exceeded the mandated APR total in all 21 of its varsity sports. The four-year totals include data from 2009-10 through 2012-13.

Athletic director Paul Krebs said he was pleased with the continued upward trend.

“APR is a very important tool used by the NCAA, and it has been a focal point of our university to strive to be a leader in APR,” Krebs said in a news release. “To have a fourth consecutive year (with) outstanding APR scores speaks volumes of the work our student-athletes put in.”

For UNM, men’s tennis and women’s golf lead the way with perfect four-year scores of 1,000. Nineteen of 21 sports finished higher than 960. Men’s basketball scored 990, football 952, baseball 946.

Men’s basketball and football achieved all-time highs since the NCAA began releasing APR scores in 2005. Football had a one-year score of 983 for 2012-13, men’s basketball a perfect 1,000 for the third straight year.

New Mexico has not been penalized as a result of APR scores since 2009, when men’s indoor and outdoor track were hit with scholarship reductions.

This year, men’s indoor track posted a 981, outdoor track a 977.

Among New Mexico State’s 16 NCAA varsity sports, most were comfortably above the 930 mark. Women’s tennis led with 992, followed by softball at 988. Men’s basketball has a four-year average of 961.

Other than football, men’s tennis had NMSU’s lowest score at 948.

According to an NCAA news release, 36 NCAA Division I programs were hit with a ban on postseason play. Only two of those, UNLV football and San Jose State men’s basketball, compete (as does UNM) in the Mountain West Conference.

UNLV football and SJSU men’s basketball also will lose practice hours.

A total of 57 schools will incur penalties of some kind next season. That number is up from 32 last year, but the NCAA has raised the standard from 900 to 930.

The highest-profile program to be penalized was Oklahoma State football, which will lose a practice day next season and barely escaped a postseason ban.

The APR works like this:

For each semester, a student-athlete accounts for two points – one for academic eligibility, one for staying in school or graduating. The total points accumulated within a program is divided by the points possible, then multiplied by 1,000.

Example: If a program had 15 scholarship athletes but had one of those athletes withdraw from school while academically ineligible, that program’s score for a given school year would be 28 divided by 30 times 1,000, or 933.

Over the years, several tweaks to the formula have been made. For example, if a men’s basketball player leaves short of graduation for the professional ranks, he does not cost his school a point as long as he leaves while academically eligible.

Kentucky men’s basketball, despite a steady stream of players leaving for the NBA, has a four-year APR of 989.

Athletes who transfer to another school don’t cost their previous school a point, provided they leave having earned a grade-point average of 2.6 or better.