The 2016-17 honor was the first for the program and marked the first time a Razorback sport made its debut in the public recognition awards since both swimming and diving and volleyball earned their first honors in 2011-12.
Critics point out that judging academic success and paying hefty April bonuses to administrators and coaches for keeping athletes eligible doesn't accurately measure the quality of their academic experience and can lead to other problems.
Public Recognition Awards get handed out based on a sport's multi-year Academic Progress Rate, better known as the "APR".
The other Duke programs recognized were men's and women's fencing, men's and women's soccer, field hockey, men's golf, women's lacrosse, women's cross country, women's tennis and volleyball.
Women's basketball picked up the recognition for the 13th straight year and the program is just one of 85 teams from all sports that have earned the recognition in every year of program. "Being accomplished in athletics is great, but the big picture is success in life". We are as focused on classroom achievement as we are with what we accomplish as competitors on the mat. We are very grateful for the resources that Penn State Athletics provides our student-athletes.
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Of the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament, Gonzaga men's basketball was one of 13 to receive the award. "Coach Tramel, his student-athletes and the hard-working academic advisors in the Buck Harless Student-Athlete Program are worthy of this recognition for a job well done". "The combination of athletics, academic studies and academic support staff at Penn State is awesome and I can't wait to see our student-athletes making an impact in their communities once they graduate!" The University of Arkansas has earned a total of 23 awards since the start of the APR Public Recognition program. The wrestling program has been recognized eight times, including each of the past four years, and the women's cross country program, directed by John Gondak, has been recognized seven times.
Women's Tennis became the seventh Razorback program to earn distinction from the NCAA as part of the APR Public Recognition Awards.
The aggregate 2016-17 Academic Progress Rate data for all NCAA Division I institutions will be announced later this month. It provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship.
"The key with the April is that it's a complete team effort, from our faculty to our campus advisers, coaches and administration", said Tommy Powell, the school's assistant provost for student-athlete academic development "We all work together to make a world-class experience for our student-athletes and prepare them for life when they leave". Nine teams earned a 100 percent GSR in the NCAA's 2017 report.
Each student receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for remaining eligible.