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USC, UCLA athletes grade well

The NCAA’s latest academic report shows USC and UCLA athletes performing well in the classroom, but the news wasn’t as good at two other Southern California universities.

The men’s basketball team at Pepperdine was hit with a scholarship loss because it fell short of the lowest acceptable score for the Academic Progress Rate. The men’s outdoor track squad at Cal State Fullerton took a .66 scholarship reduction.

Nationwide, the NCAA said high-profile Division I sports -- football, men’s basketball and baseball -- continued to demonstrate rising numbers.

“After five years of APR application and data collection, there is clear evidence of upward trends in nearly every sport,” NCAA President Myles Brand said.

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Every Division I team in the nation measures its classroom success based on athletes’ staying in school, continuing to progress academically and ultimately graduating. Annual numbers are averaged with those of previous years to calculate the multiyear APR.

Teams that fall below the 925 mark and have an athlete leave school academically ineligible can lose scholarships. Teams falling below 900 can incur penalties that, over time, can include a postseason ban and loss of Division I membership.

Among the two Pacific 10 Conference schools in the area, only the men’s basketball team at USC showed reason for concern with a 906 score.

Several teams at Cal State Northridge had low scores but did not face penalties because they either outperformed the student body or showed improvement over time.

NCAA officials said they remain concerned about overall football scores, which have not improved as greatly as those in men’s basketball and baseball. They also singled out women’s basketball, where overall eligibility rates have decreased over the last two years.

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david.wharton@latimes.com


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