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NCAA report bad for UA, AU

It's becoming a lot tougher to become a student-athlete. Moreover, it's becoming tougher and tougher for universities to have student athletes. Especially since the National Collegiate Athletic Association has released their APR report.

The APR report, or the Academic Progress Rate as it is technically known, was installed by the NCAA as part of their academic reform efforts. It is set up to where each and every scholarshipped athlete will be eligible for two points each academic semester, according to ncaa.com.

If a student-athlete is in good academic standing or graduates during a certain semester then that athlete will receive one eligibility or graduation point, depending on situation.

If at the end of that academic semester, an athlete remains in school, then that university will receive a second point for that student athlete. It is referred to as a retention point.

Conversely, if a student-athlete leaves a university in poor academic standard then that athlete, male or female will be granted no points.

According to ncaa.com, the scores for the university in any individual sport are based on the number of points that sports athletes have acquired divided by the number of points available and then multiplied by 1000.

The penalty for programs that fail to meet the cut figure of 925 will be the loss of scholarships for one season. School will only have to worry about this situation when they begin to have athletes who have graded out at zero points. According to espn.com, 410 athletic programs from the 328 Division IA colleges and Universities stand to lose either full or partial scholarships.

"We hope the behavior changes and the number of problems goes down over time," said Myles Brand, NCAA President in an interview given to espn.com on Monday afternoon.

Brand also went on to say that most of the schools who are suffering losses of scholarship are primarily in football, men's basketball and baseball.

For the big two schools in the state, they are finding out what exactly is involved with the APR reports.

The Crimson Tide, fresh off of sanctions could be denied a full roster thanks to their score of 880.

As a result of this score, the Tide stands to lose nine scholarships.

The APR will cut scholarships up until a certain number, or cap. The cap is basically 10 percent of the sports total scholarships, rounded up.

For football, schools are granted 85 scholarships.

Which, if that number is plugged into the formula will result in a loss of 8.5 scholarships and that will be rounded up to nine scholarships.

Which to a team like Alabama or any other team that is coming off of sanctions could be very detrimental to the team's on-field success that following season.

"We have a plan and that plan will be a work in progress in getting our rates to that (cut) level," said Mike Shula, coach of the Crimson Tide in an interview on Monday.

"We all know where we need to be and we'll work hard ever year."

Right now, the Tide is in the lowest national percentile and football ranks among the lowest athletic program offered by the university.

But, they aren't the only one in risk of losing scholarships.

The Tide's men's cross country squad, outdoor track and women's basketball all fell below the 925 cut score.

On the positive side of things, the men's basketball program and women's softball, cross country, track and volleyball programs all secured a perfect score of 1000.

"This will change a lot of things about how coaches recruit," said Mark Richard, Auburn University's senior associate athletic director for compliance, in an interview given earlier. "It adds a higher level of accountability to the schools and coaches."

Problems on the Plains differ from those at the Capstone.

2004's second best team in the nation, the Auburn Tigers returned a score of 960. But, Auburn's basketball programs, baseball and women's golf scored below the cut of 925.

Under the rules, the Tigers would have been forced to cut a scholarship for each basketball team and two partial scholarships for baseball and a partial women's golf scholarship.

As for Troy University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, their scores were not available on Monday.

The set of rates that appear in 2005 are merely to let the universities know where they stand. No infractions will merit sanctions. Next year, when the APR rates are released, universities and colleges will be held to the standard of losing scholarships.

According to espn.com, under the new APR system, the NCAA's officials hope to both academic eligibility and the retention of athletes. The NCAA also plans to enforce stronger penalties for athletic programs that continue to perform poorly.

Some of the penalities include loss of scholarship at the minimum to a postseason ban.