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Oregon men hitting the books as well as the hardwood
Release Date: 03/21/2014
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A recent study from Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport suggested that the UO men's basketball program's academic performance could threaten postseason eligibility, when in fact the Ducks are in good shape and getting better.

The report, distributed this week by The Associated Press and publicized regionally and nationally, reported a four-year average for Oregon's Academic Progress Rate of 918, low enough to jeopardize the Ducks' NCAA Tournament participation.

APR measures eligibility and retention of student-athletes, with 1,000 being a perfect score. Under NCAA rules, teams below 925 can lose scholarships, and a team under 900 for a four-year average, or 930 over two years, is ineligible for the tournament.

But while the report suggested Oregon's average of 918 for the four years ending in 2011-12 was a red flag because it fell below 930, that was an apples-and-oranges comparison. The Ducks' two-year average — in which the 930 threshold comes into play — was 952 through 2011-12, well above the standard.

And Oregon's scores are only getting better. As can be the case in a coaching change, roster turnover ensued when Dana Altman replaced Ernie Kent, and Oregon's APR in 2008-09 was 870. It rose to 912 the next year, then 950 and 952. According to Oregon's internal calculations, the upward trend continued in 2012-13; the NCAA will release those figures in May.

The minimum standards for postseason participation in 2014-15 rise to 930 over four years, or 940 over two years. Based on UO calculations, the Ducks' 2012-13 figures will put both its four-year and two-year averages comfortably above those benchmarks.

So while the Central Florida report seemed to raise a red flag about the Oregon basketball program's academic performance, it instead should prove to be a false alarm.

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