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Four Teams Earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards, Tops in Big West

Four Teams Earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards, Tops in Big West

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Four of Cal Poly’s intercollegiate athletics teams have been recognized by the NCAA for academic excellence after scoring in the top 10 percent of their sports in the most recent Academic Progress Rates.

Earning public recognition awards for the 2018-19 academic year are the Mustangs men’s golf, women’s beach volleyball, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball squads, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

All four teams compete in the Big West Conference, giving Cal Poly the most among all schools in the conference for the second straight year. UC Davis and UC Riverside share second place with three and three other schools were fourth with two.

The Mustang men’s golf team, coached by Scott Cartwright, has earned a Public Recognition Award for seven consecutive seasons. Women’s tennis and beach volleyball were recognized for the third year in a row while women's volleyball earned its second straight Public Recognition Award.

“Our teacher-scholar model is so important to Cal Poly and that philosophy is thriving in our athletic program,” Cal Poly director of athletics Don Oberhelman said. “Our student-athletes continue to succeed both in the classroom and on the field.”

The NCAA recognized nearly 1,400 Division I programs from 326 schools for academic excellence. The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams.

Teams earning Public Recognition Awards increased to 1,380, up by 52 from the previous academic year, largely due to an increase in squads with perfect multi-rate scores. APRs for programs in the top 10 percent ranged from 987 to a perfect 1,000. The number of teams posting perfect scores increased to 1,266, an increase of 52 teams from last year.

“The number of teams earning Public Recognition Awards — including those earning perfect scores — has increased again, demonstrating the commitment member schools and college athletes have made to high academic achievement,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “Congratulations to these teams for their continued academic success.”

Of the teams recognized, 499 competed in men’s or mixed sports and 881 competed in women’s sports. Every women’s team earning a Public Recognition Award this year also earned a perfect score.

“I am especially proud of the success in women’s sports,” Emmert said. “The achievement in women’s athletics is so high that scoring in the top 10 percent of your sport now requires a perfect score.”

Of the teams earning Public Recognition Awards, 10 also won national championships last year: Clemson football (Football Bowl Subdivision); Colorado women’s cross country; Columbia men’s and women’s fencing; Oklahoma women’s gymnastics; Stanford men’s golf and women’s water polo; Stephen F. Austin bowling; Texas men’s tennis; and UCLA beach volleyball.

Columbia led all Division I schools with a total of 22 squads earning Public Recognition Awards, followed by Colgate with 19, and Dartmouth and Yale with 17 each. By percentage, Columbia also led by percentage, with 92 percent of its squads earning recognition, followed again by Colgate at 86 percent and Northwestern with 74 percent.

The Ivy League was the top-scoring conference in both number of teams and percentage of teams honored, with 113 teams and 51 percent. The Patriot League ranked second in total number of teams earning Public Recognition Awards with 95, followed by the Big Ten with 84. By percentage of teams, the Patriot League was second again with 45 percent, and the Big East Conference was third with 39 percent.

The Big West Conference had 18 teams in seven different sports recognized as recipients of the NCAA's Public Recognition Award. Six total men’s programs received the honor, while the conference’s women’s teams totaled 12 honorees. All 18 teams earned a perfect score of 1,000.

APR scores for all Division I teams will be released May 19. The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or academic term and provides a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in every sport. All teams must meet an academic single-year threshold of 930 to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance.

The most recent APRs used for Public Recognition Awards are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years.