Originally created 03/01/05

NCAA targets failing grades for teams



INDIANAPOLIS - At least one team at half the nation's Division I schools could lose scholarships next year because of poor academic performance, according to a preliminary report released Monday by the NCAA.

Of the 5,720 teams at 328 Division I schools, about 410 teams risk penalties.

"We hope the behavior changes and the number of teams will actually go down over time," NCAA president Myles Brand said in a conference call.

Most of the scholarship losses, which would be for one year, are expected to come in football, baseball and men's basketball. Those were the only sports with averages below a 925-point cutline at which penalties would be assessed. Baseball teams averaged 922, while football and men's basketball were at 923.

The most prominent programs below 700 were the men's basketball teams at Fresno State and Baylor. Fresno State received a 611, while Baylor scored 647 - a figure affected by the transfer of several players after the 2003 shooting death of Patrick Dennehy.

But there immediately were concerns with the scores.

The Houston women's cross country team and the Eastern Michigan men's indoor track team both scored zero, which NCAA officials said might have been because there was only one athlete.

Maryland-Baltimore County athletic director Charles Brown said the NCAA miscalculated the score for its men's track team, which scored 600.

Brown said he contacted the NCAA to point out the calculation included only three indoor track athletes - not the 27 that participate in both indoor and outdoor track.

"It's very embarrassing and it hurts our recruiting," Brown said. "It's extremely upsetting that the NCAA released something to the public when they know there are some flaws."

The NCAA will use a statistical adjustment to prevent statistical anomalies for teams with few athletes.

Corrections to the scores are expected to be announced in April. The NCAA also will institute a yet-to-be determined waiver process to avoid penalties.

Schools are expected to be notified by December of the final results.

Making the grade

Athletes get one point for each semester they've been eligible and another point for each semester they've stayed in school. The points for each team are divided by the team's highest possible point total. That percentage is assessed a point total, with 1,000 being the highest. Schools scoring below 925, or 92.5 percent, could face penalties.

Source: Associated Press