YPSILANTI, Mich.â€”The Eastern Michigan University wrestling team posted the third most substantial improvement nationally in its four-year Academic Progress Report (APR) scores, the NCAA reported Wednesday, May 6. The Eagles increased their ranking by 29 points from the 2007-08 to the 2008-09 season.
Division I wrestling programs throughout the country received higher marks than ever before in the fifth annual APR report released by the NCAA. The overall four-year Academic Progress Rate in Division I wrestling improved seven points, more than double the three point gain by all Division I athletic teams.
The overall improvement was sparked by a single-year improvement of 14.6 points in 2007-08, the second highest gain of any sport sponsored by the NCAA. The single-year scores in the sport of wrestling have improved each of the past three years, increasing 24.7 points from 937.3 in 2004-05 to 962 in 2007-08.
â€œWe are very pleased and proud of the vast improvement we have seen in a very short time period,â€ said Mike Moyer, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association. â€œWe are also pleased that several indicators suggest this improvement should continue well into the future.â€
Sixty-two percent of Division I wrestling teams improved their four-year APR scores from a year ago, including 11 programs that improved by 20 or more points. West Virginia University improved the most (38 points) followed by UC Davis (33) and EMU (29).
Bucknell University, which earned its first All-American since reinstating its wrestling program in 2006-07, leads all wrestling teams with a perfect 1000 multi-year APR score. Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania also have a multi-year APR score in the 990 â€“ 1000 range.
The number of wrestling teams with one-year APR scores below 900 and 925 decreased 19 points and 14 points respectively, representing the largest improvement of any sport sponsored by the NCAA. Teams with multi-year APR scores below 900 or 925 are subject to NCAA penalties.
â€œA year ago wrestling coaches from around the country came to the annual NWCA convention to learn and share best practices in order to improve APR scores,â€ says Mark Gumble, an APR consultant working with the NWCA. â€œI left the convention with a strong belief that the coaches would take what they learned and implement best practices at their institutions. Their leadership has made a big difference and the future of the sport of wrestling looks bright because of it.â€
The Eastern Michigan University athletics program has had all of its 21 intercollegiate sports meet the NCAAâ€™s criteria for multi-year APR scores in 2008-09.