The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
APR AND BIG TEN FOOTBALL: A HIGH LEVEL SURVEY
SOME NOTES FIRST…
A few threads lately have touched on the subject of the Academic Progress Rate (APR) and where Michigan has been at in the recent past, but I thought it would be even more interesting to take a look at the entire Big Ten over the last several years. As it might garner the most interest, I chose to compare football programs.
I will first say that there was an interesting quandary that presented itself in collecting this data. It is simple enough to look up the rolling averages for the past eight years, but the reports published by the NCAA only had the individual team APR for four years prior, so I had to recreate the formula for finding the individual APRs using the rolling averages and I went back as far as 2004-05. I double checked my results and they seem reasonable.
ACADEMIC PROGRESS RATE:
Here is what we’re measuring when we talk about the Academic Progress Rate of a team.
For a given team, each student receiving aid will receive one point for retention (staying in school) and one point for remaining eligible to play. So, for a football team in Division I that is fielding the full complement of 85 scholarship athletes, there are a possible 170 points. If you have in a given year, for example, four players who drop out and are ineligible (subtract 8 points), and two players who remain but are merely ineligible (subtract 2 points), you would have (160 / 170)*1000 or an APR of 941.
It is also important to note that, when we enter the new championship structure, teams must earn a 930 four-year minimum average or a 940 for last two seasons to be eligible to participate in the championships. In 2015-16, it will simply be the 930 rolling average as the benchmark for participation. So, if you look at this from the perspective of how many “points” do you lose to get to 930, 93% of 170 is 158.1, so say, 159 or 11 points.
Of course, it is a metric, and the manner in which teams keep players in school and eligible can always be debated. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it is an interesting measure as it stands.
First, here is the table with the rolling averages (thumbnail is due to size of original):
There’s not a lot to say other than the general trend is towards improvement for almost everyone. As it is a rolling average, it does hide some intriguing variations between individual years, but you can see that the conference as a whole is generally getting better.
In the table below, you’ll see the individual team APRs, some of which were found algebraically as I mentioned.
The average of the individual APRs for football for the conference (including Nebraska when appropriate) is 957, but I have shaded in this table the instance of APRs below 957 so you can see which teams have missed that mark and how often. Northwestern, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin would come out as APR winners in this analysis if there were such a prize.
Here’s another way to look at it, however. This table shows team performance (by way of cool shading) the performance of individual teams against the yearly conference average of those individual APRs. The far right column is the conference average, and the bottom row is the school average in that period.
The one that should immediately grab attention is Minnesota, of course, followed to a lesser extent by Purdue, Illinois and Michigan State. These schools seemed spend a majority of this period at or below the conference average for individual APR in a given year. Michigan had a bad stretch there but you can see the tremendous improvement in recent years. Northwestern should not shock anyone really. Ohio State does well in this analysis as well.
ANOTHER VIEW OF IT:
Here is a cleaner view of individual team performance versus the average:
Again, part of the analysis was actually trying to extract information through algebraic means, so if I did all that right and I am not just deluding myself with regards to my math skills, you should now have a somewhat clear view of where the Big Ten has been and where it is headed when it comes to the measure. Whatever you may think of it as a tool, there has been a net increase of 5.06% in the Big Ten’s average yearly score over these last eight years. When you think of how many more student-athletes that may very well mean are completing their education, the effort inside the Big Ten to drive achievement is yielding results.
OH, AND OF COURSE...
This is the ranking that makes me smile the broadest: football, basketball and the others come and go, and are done by others. We all do this together and it doesn't change much, year to year: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2013/reputation-ranking/range/01-50.
UofM is ranked alphabetically as the #8 in research and #6 in primary care, according to US News and World reports ranking of the best graduate programs for medicine. That is out of 149 fully accredited schools.
Top Research Schools
1. Columbia University (NY)
2. Duke University (NC)
3. Harvard University (MA)
4. Johns Hopkins University (MD)
5. Stanford University (CA)
6. University of California--San Francisco
7. University of Chicago (Pritzker)
8. University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
9. University of Pennsylvania (Perelman)
T10. Washington University in St. Louis
T10. Yale University (CT)
Top Primary Care Schools
1. Oregon Health and Science University
2. University of Alabama--Birmingham
3. University of California--San Francisco
4. University of Colorado--Denver
5. University of Massachusetts--Worcester
6. University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
7. University of Minnesota
8. University of Nebraska Medical Center
9. University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill
10. University of Washington
Just thought I would post a bit of this article that I found on the Rivals.com college football page about players' who made their college choice based on something besides football.
In the article, E.J. Levenberry confirms that he chose FSU over Michigan because of their highly respected criminology department (he wants to work for the FBI after graduation).
From the young man himself:
Michigan has a better overall academic reputation than Florida State. The 2012 U.S. News rankings rated Michigan 28th and Florida State 101st among national universities. But Florida State does have a renowned criminology department. In fact, Florida State's criminology department was ranked No. 1 for faculty research last year in an article by the Journal of Criminal Justice Education.
The strength of that department led Levenberry to Florida State.
"That basically was the deciding factor because Michigan and Florida State were so close," Levenberry said. "They were basically identical for me. The only way I could choose a school was by what would be best for my future. Florida State had criminology. That's what I want to do. They had the major in the exact field [computer forensics] that I want to work in."
Graham Watson (frequent contributor to Dr. Saturday at Yahoo! Sports) wrote up a really interesting article in response to an Ohio State sign that compares the academic majors of current Ohio State football players against those of Michigan's players.
It's a great article, and I'll let you readers interpret from it what you will.
Link is here.
[Edit: FWIW, Graham Watson is a lady. Not at all relevant to the story, I just saw a lot of comments referring to 'he/him' and thought it should be stated.
Sorry if already posted - I didn't see it in the archives - but the New York Times had an article about the cutlure of sports at colleges and how it was (potentially) having an adverse effect on the academic performance of the students.
While I understand the consternation held by some of the professors at schools who see academics taking a back seat to athletics, many of the facts and figures they point to are not exclusive to athletics but instead are true for any major campus event. For example, they talk about the drop in GPA at Oregon when the football team does well, though (a) the number they quote (0.02 for men) seems rather small and (b) the timeframe for the data is rather short (Oregon has only been enjoying its current "elite" run for what, 3-4 years?). Also, they note that at one school students visiting the library and reading articles drops during sporting events, but they don't provide figures about similar usage around big school events like campus "holidays" (Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, etc.) and non-athletic events to see if that drop is a more general trend. And to point to China as an example of "laser focus" on academics is a little silly - the academic composition in other countries is vastly different than in the US, but many of those schools have myriad of other problems that US educators would also cringe at.
Regardless, a good read.