Unverified Voracity Analyzes APRs

Submitted by Brian on May 8th, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Down Arrow Graph APR. The NCAA has released all the APR information for this year and Michigan's doing quite well, thanks. HOWEVA, I am a bit concerned Michigan's football numbers will dip over the next few years. The four-year rolling numbers:

That's a steady decline as the Carr years waned and attrition increased. The APR issues two points per student per year, one for being academically eligible and one for not leaving, and Michigan's suffered a lot of premature departures.

Boren, Mallett, Manningham, and Arrington are in those 2008 numbers, but many others aren't accounted for yet: Threet, Clemons, McGuffie, Babb, Horn, Chambers, and Kates all left the team after the 2008-09 school year started. I'm not sure if Slocum and Patilla, who left over the summer, are counted, and I don't know if Taylor Hill's extremely brief tenure as a Wolverine—a couple weeks at most—will be held against Michigan. And if I had to bet I'd put my money on Carson Butler coming up a few credits short of his bachelor's in Nerd Massacre Engineering. (Andre Criswell left the team but not the school, and I'd bet he's got a degree, so he shouldn't count.)

Upshot: the transition period is going to hurt Michigan's APR standing just because of the sheer quantity of transfers, and we can expect that 947 to dip considerably next year. I don't think it'll get into the range where Michigan is seriously flirting with sanctions… but I'm not 100% sure or anything.

Another team to watch is Tennessee, which has an APR a point higher than Michigan's and has just suffered ten Kiffin-induced departures.

Meanwhile, penalties are now in full effect and have clubbed basketball teams at OSU, Purdue, and Indiana with scholarship reductions. Indiana is obvious and OSU's addiction to one-and-dones makes them a logical candidate, but Purdue? I guess they just went through a transition period. Ohio State is probably going get to hit next year, too, with Anthony Crater's transfer and the departure of caveman BJ Mullens for the NBA draft. 

Can complaints about this thing being a paper tiger stop now? That's one traditional power and two teams that were in the NCAA tournament last year getting hit with the meanstick. Yes, small schools get punished more heavily but that's because they don't have the resources to support the high-risk players they're recruiting. They should concentrate on kids they can graduate. Myles Brand:

"The truth of the matter," Brand said, "is that if you're going to participate in high-level intercollegiate athletics, you have to provide for academic opportunities for the students. And that's not inexpensive."

Word. Anything that diverts more money, Lebowski, to the people actually on the field instead of the people on the periphery is good.

One downer is the ability to absorb penalties into your year of suck. Indiana lost two scholarships but got the NCAA to agree to these hijinks:

IU anticipated the two-scholarship penalty announced today and took it last season. Purdue did the same with a one-scholarship penalty.

Michigan did something similar under Amaker: hit with a one-scholarship reduction for four years, they crammed three of those into the first year and got out of the last two. Schools shouldn't be allowed to take their penalty whenever it's convenient for them; they should have to take it at a uniform time, convenient or no. Allowing IU to put their two-scholarship penalty towards a year when they already knew they'd be terrible is no punishment at all; the same goes for Michigan conveniently backdating their penalties into a year where they were three scholarships short anyway.

One inexplicable horrible thing though. The good doctor highlights the strangest APR case of the year:

The worst APR score in the country belonged to South Florida, which was also below par in basketball and baseball, but the Bulls avoided scholarship penalties in football by applying for a waiver ... which they received for the second straight season despite an eight-point drop (909, down from 917) from a score that was already eight points below the mandated 925 last year.

WTF? How can a team get a waiver one year, fail to improve their score, and get another waiver? I have an email in to the NCAA's website; we'll see if they respond.

Clarification. A few UV's back I asked whether Pryor was actually booted from OSU's spring game for talking trash. I didn't think he did but wasn't 100% sure; since then several emailers have confirmed that answer is "no."

Sherman-Williams will be crushed. I'm sure I've bitched endlessly about the horrific charging calls that floppy white guys get all the time in college—unless it's Zach Novak, for some reason. It turns out I'm not crazy and the NCAA wants to do something about kids showing up directly under the basket with the opponent already in the air… sort of:

The recommendation on play under the basket won't call for a restricted-area arc painted in the lane as the NBA has, but it prohibits a secondary defender from establishing position in the area from the front of the rim to the front of the backboard. A defender must establish position outside that area to draw a charge or player-control foul.

This sounds frustrating in practice, albeit less frustrating than the current setup. Basketball refereeing suffers from a lack of clarity already and, when possible, rules should be adjusted to be black and white. That goes double for college. An NBA-style no charge circle is black and white. This is pretty vague.

Also, one of the guys quoted in the story is named Dick Hack. He's chair of the men's committee and athletics director at New York-Maritime and sounds like he either leapt out of noir novel or Idiocracy. Various cocktails to you, sir.

Then we'll build this awesome hotel. The coaches poll took a look at the criticisms leveled at it and is considering two bold steps:

  • Not releasing the votes in the final poll.
  • Keeping the identities of the voters secret.

Wait… what? Is Kim Jong-Il in charge of this thing? These are bold steps in exactly the wrong direction. Over The Pylon's already pulled out the flamethrower so I'll just quote them:

So for the coaches poll to have any "credibility" to begin with, we, as fans, are asked to assume that coaches will be informed, participatory, and non-biased. And the only way to ensure that's happening is to ensure that the public can see exactly how these non-biased informed voters are voting. More transparency is the answer.

Context provides heavy sarcasm on "non-biased" and "informed," BTW. The BCS should step in and declare those moves unacceptable if the coaches' poll wants to remain part of the BCS formula. The only thing worse than having biased voters participate in the critically important selection process is having secret biased voters.

Etc.: Sam Keller's suing EA and the NCAA for copying the likenesses of players without paying them. I hope he wins as long as the solution is to pay the players a little bit and not randomization, but if he wins I bet they go with randomization. I don't have a strong opinion on this Daniel Hood thing—he was convicted of rape at 14 and now a Tennessee football recruit—but lean towards think it's okay.


panthera leo fututio

May 8th, 2009 at 12:45 PM ^

It's kind of lame that the imaginary no-charge zone is confined to the area directly under the hoop, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. And it may have a notable impact on Manny's production - I feel like there was almost a play per game last season where an and-one was changed to a turnover because of a ridiculous charge call.

I wonder if the vagueness of the rule might be intended to accommodate terrible college refereeing. Rather than forcing the ref to see whether or not a defender's heels were on the line, this rule gives him the freedom to make the call based on his intuition of whether defender's position was legit or not.


May 8th, 2009 at 12:46 PM ^

It is hard to take the APR seriously as a measure of anything when it dings schools like Ohio State for having guys who go pro. Ok - so Ohio State had four guys who left after one season and became first round draft picks and make more money than the people who put the APR together. Counting them against the program as if they just dropped out makes no logical sense. The APR has teeth, but it's kind of like a blind pit bull. What does a low score even mean, beyond that you might get sanctioned?


May 8th, 2009 at 1:20 PM ^

I'm pretty sure this is just the result of someone still pretending these players are student-athletes by trying to prevent colleges from becoming a minor league for the NBA/NFL. Then the NBA implemented the 19-year-old rule after this was set up, and now the one-and-dones are going to have nowhere to go once schools start worrying about getting sanctions like OSU. So once again, the players lose.


May 8th, 2009 at 2:17 PM ^


Once schools stop considering guys like Mullen and whomever Callipari (sp?) signs each year, you'll probably see more players head overseas and/or the NBA will just give up and open a farm system-like league (or simply expand the D-league to allow kids from high school) to handle those kids who have no interest in school.

That said, I still do think that the vast majority of kids who sign up to play college ball intend on sticking around and nabbing their degree, or at least this reality sets in after a year or two of being the 7-8th guy on the bench. Considering that there are thousands of athletes who play D1 football and basketball, it seems (and maybe I'll do the math one day) that relatively few actually leave early. Most stick around and, while that may be because they realize that their careers will end in college/shortly after, do try to leverage their scholarships into degrees. Maybe I'm not as cynical as I once was, and maybe those damn NCAA "pro" commercials are finally getting to me, but I do think that most college athletes show up intending to play for the school and graduate.


May 8th, 2009 at 5:13 PM ^

Nothing seems to generate much interest in the D-league, and the NBA gets several benefits from forcing top talent to unwillingly play 1 or 2 years in college; more support for a developmental league that the NBA doesn't pay for, more interest in the draft, greater competitive balance (40-60 additional competitive games entered into the analysis of each player increases the value of a top pick), etc.

Note; this is not a normative justification of the draft restriction as "fair."

Sgt. Wolverine

May 8th, 2009 at 5:40 PM ^

You don't think getting some of the top high school talent would generate a little bit more interest in the d-league? (That's not a combative statement; it's a real question. It's sad I feel I have to make that distinction, but this is the internet.) The league is never going to be huge, but it seems like the NBA could make it worth its while with some effort and a few higher-profile high school stars who would rather avoid college.

Also, looking back on my comments, I'm pretty sure when I said "better for everybody" I was thinking "better for colleges and fans." So yeah, my comment wasn't as completely true as I would have liked it to be. I find the NBA obnoxiously flashy, noisy (NBA arenas: STOP PLAYING ANNOYING SOUND EFFECTS DURING THE GAME) and star-centered and, more often than not, astoundingly dull, so I don't much care what's good for them.


May 8th, 2009 at 6:32 PM ^

that on balance, sending top high schoolers (other than a once in a lifetime guy like LeBron James) to the D-League would hurt their visibility more than it would help the visibility of the D-League. The average D-League team draws fewer people than Hope College men's team (half of a Hope-Calvin game), and seems to get almost no media coverage. I don't think that a couple of guys like Brandon Jennings, Kosta Koufos, Greg Monroe, or BJ Mullens would have any impact on that number. A guy like LeBron would, but I think that someone with that amount of talent+hype will come along once in a generation. I suspect that each one of those guys would have received less exposure/coverage in the D-League than they had in college.

Frankly, I don't understand why the NBA invested in the d-league at all. It can free-ride on two domestic developmental leagues (NCAA, CBA), and can also draw from Eurobasket.

I agree with you about NBA arenas, but I think the game itself very compelling to watch, especially in the playoffs.


May 9th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

It wouldn't hurt their draft chances; the NBA can find guys from the remotest foreign leagues if they're good enough. But it would hurt the NBA from a marketing standpoint. The players would be competing in an almost zero-visibility league and would generate very little public interest prior to the draft. Having them play in college, with its big audience, is vastly preferable in the NBA's view.


May 8th, 2009 at 2:14 PM ^

IIRC: to pick up penalties you have to have someone leave school ineligible, which both Oden and Kosta Koufous did. I think that if Oden and Koufous had been eligible when they left OSU might have gotten one of those waiver things.


May 11th, 2009 at 1:07 PM ^

One other consequence is the Cameron Wright issue brought up here a couple times. While we never got the whole story on that one, I strongly suspect that Wright was given the drop in large part because OSU was losing scholarships. Thus, it is important that the NCAA figure out a way to knock programs in some sort of rationally defensible manner.


May 8th, 2009 at 3:13 PM ^

Purdue has done the we-saw-this-coming thing two seasons in a row. Sketchy, and as a Purdue grad, I find it to be a bit disconcerting. Particularly because the AD is quoted in the '08 article as saying "blah blah transfers blah blah not our fault blah blah." Plus they only went up 6 points this season, exactly enough to avoid an historical penalty (like the one they got waived last season).

"We" have not been particularly good in the past with respect to grades, and Painter seems to lose about one player per year for various court-related reasons. (Usually the court involved is the basketball court.)

Purdue football also went up 6 and is now just above the 925 cutoff ... of course with Hope taking over, there is potential for that to plummet after this season.

Women's basketball, not so much of a problem for "us": 963. Coach stability plus players apparently more interested in studying = no problems.


May 8th, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

In the interest of keeping your credibility among the demographic that painted houses to get through college, it is Sherwin-Williams, a common mistake.


May 8th, 2009 at 3:37 PM ^

I think you're looking forward, while the case is looking backwards.

Forward, the NCAA only has to make its players sign a document foregoing any royalties for use of their likeness that the NCAA may see fit to sell. I would imagine this clause is already in their scholarship contracts (so they can telecast the games in the first place).

Backwards, we'll have to see what that clause has said, and what it used to say, etc. The NFL All-Pros and Legendary Teams of yesteryear, for example, are suing EA as well because they didn't see a dime from the union, and their likenesses and names were used. The All-Americans in the EA Sports games would likely have a similar claim.

Ultimately, the answer is staring them in the face: settle out of court for an EA-sponsored scholarship fund, which gives EA the right to use the students' names and likenesses in return for a percentage of that year's sales going to a fund for further education of NCAA Athletes. As the Big Ten commercials like pointing out, most of these kids will be going pro in something other than athletics. Graduate education prices are skyrocketing, and this makes it very very tough for a kid who needed a scholarship for undergrad to consider further education. It preserves the amateur status of the athletes, provides cost certainty for EA, and allows the company and NCAA to trumpet how they're all about education.

Who doesn't win?


May 8th, 2009 at 7:43 PM ^

I could be wrong about this, but I think the key to the case is that there is a prohibition against using student athletes' names and likenesses in commercial ventures. And that EA circumvents this by allowing players to easily upload the names and likenesses, which the in game announcers actually use.

So it wouldn't be enough in the future to just have student athletes sign a waiver. The NCAA "officially" can't sell the the student athletes (yes I know that in practice they do this all the time).

Here is the NCAA's resonse:

"Our agreement with EA Sports clearly prohibits the use of names and pictures of current student-athletes in their electronic games," said NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson, in a statement. "We are confident that no such use has occurred and that we will ultimately be dismissed from this lawsuit."

from: http://www.cnbc.com/id/30605723


May 8th, 2009 at 3:43 PM ^

There was a lot in that post but here are few points I could glean right off teh bat:

1. The NCAA is run by bunch of beaurocrats who wear smoking jackets at the office. They don't want to actually make the schools put the proper emphasis on education to their student-athletes, but they damn sure want it too look like thay do.
2. Lane Kiffin is a knob.
3. Sam Keller better not ruin future releases of NCAA Football becuase most players are stoked to actually have their quasi-likeness in a video game. Sam Keller needs to show that he has somehow been wronged by EA and the NCAA or just admit that he's a shitty QB who needs a huge money-grab to offset his lost income from his non-existent NFL career. You should have picked Michigan, A-hole!
4. Rolling Rock is not a bad beer when on a hot day.
5. I never know who the foul is on in basketball in a charge/blocking situation because it is the least consistent call in all of collegiate sports. It's bad enough that fouls are called differently on each end of the court, but these blocking/charging fouls are especially frustrating because the calls tend to take other factors into account when the call is made. It's kinda like the Kobe call...the player and the game/situation are a huge part of one guy getting a call and another guy not getting the call for the same infraction. The solution: Robot Referees that cannot distinguish Kobe Bryant from Luke Walton.


May 9th, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

They aren't getting screwed if they have agreed (when signing their letters of intent) not to profit from the use of their likenesses.

If I invent something but then give away the patent rights to someone else, who then profits from it, am I getting screwed?

Rush N Attack

May 8th, 2009 at 4:32 PM ^

From the AP:

"KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A total of 11 Tennessee players with scholarships have left the Volunteers football program under new coach Lane Kiffin, including four since the end of spring practice...."


May 9th, 2009 at 9:05 AM ^

This is the most inconsistent call in all of basketball. Sometimes the ref calls a charge and then another play like it happens and he calls it a block next time. Its annoying to watch because it isn't called consistently.