School-Record Four Kentucky Teams Win NCAA Academic Award

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky has a school-record four teams – women’s cross country, men’s golf, rifle and men’s basketball – that have received awards for their Academic Progress Rate scores, the NCAA announced Wednesday.
 
The Wildcat squads received the honor for placing in the top 10 percent of Division I schools in their respective sports. The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success by the progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation. The scores are a four-year composite, covering the 2011-12 through 2014-15 school years.
 
Having four teams earn the APR top-10 award breaks the school record of three teams set in both of the last two years. It’s also the first time that a UK squad has won in five consecutive years, as this marks five in a row for men’s golf. Women’s cross country has won three years in a row. Men’s basketball earned the honor for the third time, also in 2009 and 2015. This is the first time that the rifle team has earned the accolade.

“It is gratifying to see another record set for academic achievement,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “Reaching the top 10 percent in the country is a credit to the students for their dedication and to Coach (John) Calipari, Coach (Edrick) Floréal, Coach (Brian) Craig and Coach (Harry) Mullins for how they’ve managed their programs.”
 
The Wildcat coaches were excited about their teams’ achievements.
 
  • “I am always proud of the work our students put in to perform in the classroom and appreciate the consistency it takes to do it year after year,” Mullins said. “Tiffany Hayden, our academic counselor, has done a great job to help make this award possible.”
  • “Although continued academic success can be taken for granted, it’s important to keep in mind that academic excellence requires discipline and sacrifice,” Floréal said. “We continuously stress to our student-athletes that a four-year college degree is a 45-year decision that can sustain them and their families. We are proud of what our students accomplished and thankful for the work done by our academic counselors Passion Richardson and Josh Ray.”
  • “I am proud of our young men for not only their work ethic on the course, but for having an equal dedication to their performance in the classroom,” Craig said. “I want to thank Amy Craiglow, our academic counselor, and everyone in the CATS program. This honor speaks not only to the young men in our program, but also the tireless efforts of Amy and her staff. The CATS Center has been critical for our successes in the classroom and we appreciate their continued support.”
  • “Seven years ago when I was introduced as the coach at Kentucky, I made a statement that we would recruit the best and the brightest that would excel not only on the basketball court but in the classroom and in the community as well,” Calipari said. “This award shouldn’t be a surprise to the student body at the University of Kentucky because they are classmates with the kids in our program. They’re right there with them in the classroom, whether we’re talking about this time of the year with kids who have put their names in the draft or during January when we’re getting off planes at 2 in the morning and they’re showing up for classes at 8 a.m. the same day. The challenges they have as student-athletes in our program are not for everybody. If you look over our time, we’ve done it each and every season and continue to improve in all areas. This honor is based on the last four years and shows our kids are loyal to themselves, their families, this program and this university. Congratulations to Michael Stone and the CATS staff for the tremendous support they offer our kids. They continue to be the best in the country.” 
 
The APR scores of these teams, along with the scores of every Division I team in all sports, will be released later by the NCAA. Teams are subject to penalties if the APR target score is not achieved.
 
Wednesday's news is a continuation of the academic accomplishments of UK student-athletes. In November, it was announced that UK has broken or tied the NCAA Graduation Success Rate every year since the NCAA began measuring that statistic in 2005. UK athletes have posted an overall grade-point average over 3.0 in each of the last seven semesters.