Michael Wallace McCall, University of South Carolina


Universities are required by the NCAA to ensure student-athletes make progress towards earning a degree. In 2004, The NCAA created the Academic Progress Rate (APR) metric to assess if universities were facilitating academic success for student-athletes. Athletic programs that fail to meet an APR score of 925 receive a variety of penalties. These penalties not only hurt the athletic program but also tarnish an institution's image. Predicting which student-athletes are at-risk can provide an opportunity for athletic programs to change procedures to reduce risk. Although the NCAA provides information about APR risk, results are calculated based on aggregated data across a variety of institutions ranging from regional colleges to elite private universities. The risk factors provided by the NCAA may not accurately reflect risk within a specific institution. The present study assessed risk factors related to losing APR points for student-athletes attending a Division I institution in a BCS conference. Archival data were collected from the institution and the NCAA for 829 student-athletes receiving athletic scholarships between 2003-2009 school years. Predictor variables included high school GPA, SAT scores, conditions of admission, SES, race/ethnicity, sex, playing time, red shirting, distance from home, and sport risk. Results of the analysis indicate that male and female student-athletes have different risk factors and should be analyzed separately. There is an interesting relationship between high school GPA and SAT scores for minority student-athletes. Finally, a combination of preadmission, social-contextual, and sport variables were associated with student-athletes at-risk for losing APR points.