USC passes NCAA’s exams with high academic progress rates

USC coach Clay Helton speaks to his players during a game against UCLA on Nov. 19.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

While many USC athletes were sitting down for the last of their spring semester final exams Wednesday morning, the athletic department was receiving its own grade of sorts from the NCAA. This one the Trojans can hang on the fridge.

USC’s football and men’s basketball teams each posted all-time highs in the NCAA’s multiyear academic progress rate assessment, or APR. The most recent report, released Wednesday, spans four academic years, from 2012-13 to 2015-16. The football team posted a score of 968 (out of 1,000) and the men’s basketball team scored 969.

Fourteen of USC’s 21 sports improved on last year’s APR, nine of those posted all-time highs and five scored a perfect 1,000.


The NCAA has been tracking APR for 12 years. It is a blunt tool, mostly used to establish a baseline academic standard. The rating factors in eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship athlete, and the NCAA penalizes teams with an APR of 930 or below with sanctions, which can include loss of postseason eligibility.

No USC team has come close to that mark.

The five teams with a perfect mark included four women’s teams — beach volleyball, cross country, golf and tennis — and one men’s team, volleyball.

Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand