Now that UNC has cut down the nets on this season, USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson looks at which teams and players are poised to make a run at the championship in 2017-18.
USA TODAY Sports
The NCAA said 17 Division I teams across a variety of sports will be ineligible for postseason play in 2017-18 as a result of low Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores, down from 23 last year.
The APR measures eligibility and progress toward graduation for athletes, and schools must achieve a score of 930 (out of 1,000) to avoid penalties.
Teams ruled ineligible for the postseason tilt heavily toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including the men’s basketball programs at Alabama A&M, Grambling and Savannah State. Four teams at Southern University will miss the 2017-18 postseason including men’s baseball, men’s cross country, men’s track and women’s cross country.
However, the NCAA said overall average scores at HBCUs have improved from 916 to 956 since 2010. For the last two years, the NCAA has allowed teams from HBCUs and “limited resource” universities to avoid some penalties by meeting specific academic criteria including a graduation rate for athletes that exceeds the student body at large.
The NCAA has also allocated additional money to underfunded schools to aid in academic support.
The most high-profile school facing penalties is Southeast Missouri State, whose men’s basketball team is banned from the 2017-18 postseason.
According to the NCAA, the overall four-year APR for the 2015-16 academic year is 981, up two points from last year. Football increased from 959 to 962, while men’s basketball improved from 964 to 966.
From the NCAA report:
The specific penalties for each team are listed on the school’s report in the APR searchable database.
Level One penalties focus on practice restrictions, which provide additional time for teams to focus on academics. Teams facing this penalty lose four hours and one day of practice time per week in season, which is intended to be replaced with academic activities. In 2017-18, 16 teams face this level of penalty.
Level Two penalties include the Level One penalty and a reduction of four hours of practice time out of season, which is intended to be replaced with academic activities. At Level Two, the team’s nonchampionship season, or spring football, is eliminated. Teams without nonchampionship seasons face a reduced number of contests. In 2017-18, 10 teams fall into this category.
► Alabama A&M: Baseball, men’s basketball, men’s golf, women’s cross country
► Grambling: Men’s basketball, men’s cross country, men’s track
► Howard: Men’s swimming and diving
► Morgan State:…