“We’re not on there,” Jacksonville State athletics director Warren Koegel said, “and we don’t want to be.”
All of Jacksonville State University’s sports made the grade, and JSU no longer has any teams under APR-related penalties as of the 2013-14 school year.
The latest multi-year averages cover a four-year span through the 2011-12 school year. To meet the NCAA threshold, teams must have a multi-year average of 900 or higher or two-year average of 930 or higher. All JSU sports had multi-year averages of 940 or better.
It’s a breakthrough for JSU, which saw its football team suffer an APR-related postseason ban in 2009 and its men’s basketball team suffer the same this past season.
“I’m proud of our student-athletes, our coaches and our support staff, our academic support staff and our compliance office,” Koegel said. “All of them have something to do with this success.
“We’re happy. Let’s keep going on and win championships.”
The men’s basketball team saw its multi-year average jump from 889 through 2010-11 to 947 through 2011-12.
The team’s latest four-year average dropped the one-year score of 769 that factored into the previous averages. The latest four-year average of 947 also marks the team’s first above 900 and a dramatic improvement from previous multi-year averages of 859, 882, 862, 830, 859, 865 and 889.
The average has steadily climbed since 830 from 2007-08, which doomed this past season’s team to no postseason play. The Gamecocks finished 17-11, 8-8 Ohio Valley Conference but could not participate in the league tourney.
“Last year, our basketball team, those poor kids,” Koegel said. “Not one of those kids playing for us last year had anything to do with that score, and, so unfortunately, they were not able to play in postseason play.
“You hate to see that, and they played hard all year long. They had a good season, and they worked toward playing for pride, but you never want to have a team in that position. Ever.”
In the other most high-profile sports, the football team’s four-year average improved from 915 to 940, the team’s best average ever. JSU’s football team suffered a postseason ban in 2009 and penalties of some kind stemming from multi-year APR averages released from 2005-09.
The baseball team improved from 959 to 968, and women’s basketball upped from 955 to 960.
Multi-year averages for other sports were as follows: men’s cross country 949, men’s golf 985, men’s tennis 986, softball 961, women’s cross country 986, women’s golf 969, women’s soccer 974, women’s tennis 1,000, women’s indoor track 955, women’s outdoor track 951 and volleyball 989.
Koegel attributed across-the-board success to stepped-up awareness and emphasis from the athletics department to the Academic Center of Excellence, the help center for all students. Three members of the athletics department work at ACE in academic advising, and they monitor study halls.
He also said a new grading system has helped to better track academic progress on line.
“We know a little bit more than maybe we did a couple of years ago,” Koegel said. “We’re getting all of these reports coming in from the faculty, and everybody is in good standing. Or, if we have two or three kids that have Ds at that point, or whatever, we know what’s the matter, and we (coaches) will talk to that kid.”
JSU is well positioned for the pending increase in the NCAA’s APR standard. This standard will increase to a multi-year 930 or a 940 two-year average for the 2014-15 postseason.
Koegel said JSU’s departmental goal is already at the new pending increased standard, calling anything below 930 “a wakeup call.”
But there’s no wakeup call like a postseason ban, which JSU has experienced in its two highest-profile sports.
“We want our scores to be up there and never have this situation ever come again,” Koegel said.
Multi-year APR averages for JSU sports:
- Men’s basketball - 947
- Football - 940
- Baseball - 968
- Men’s cross country - 949
- Men’s golf - 985
- Men’s tennis - 986
- Women’s basketball - 960
- Softball - 961
- Women’s cross country - 986
- Women’s golf - 969
- Women’s soccer - 974
- Women’s tennis - 1,000
- Women’s indoor track - 955
- Women’s outdoor track - 951
- Volleyball - 989.
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.