May 7, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS—For the third time in the last four years, the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball program received Public Recognition from the National Collegiate Athletic Association for ranking among the nation’s top-10 percent of all 351 men’s basketball squads based on its Academic Progress Rate. Announced by the NCAA on Wednesday, the honor takes into account academic progress, as well as graduation and retention rates over a four-year period between the 2009-10 and 2012-13 academic years. Today’s NCAA public recognition release precedes its formal announcement of NCAA Division I team scores and penalties, which will occur next Wednesday.
The Pitt men’s basketball program earned this distinction in 2009-10, 2010-11 and now 2012-13. Pitt is one of four ACC men’s basketball programs to earn the honor this year, along with Duke, Miami and Notre Dame. Only Pitt, Duke and Notre Dame have earned the honor in at least three of the last four years.
“Jamie Dixon continues to prove that you can have one of the top basketball programs in the country and still achieve the highest levels of academic success,” Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson said. “We are fortunate to have a gentleman leading our basketball program who personifies the ideals of this great University.”
The team APR honor marks the third academic accolade this year for the Pitt Basketball program. In March, junior Cameron Wright earned the ACC’s Skip Prosser Award, honoring the league’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year. In February, it was announced that Pitt led the ACC for most Academic All-ACC selections with four (Wright, Jamel Artis, Josh Newkirk and Michael Young).
The Academic Progress Rate is a measure of classroom performance related to all participating NCAA Division I athletic programs. It is considered to be the NCAA’s “real-time” snapshot of academic progress, graduation and retention. Schools that fail to reach the NCAA’s minimum score can receive penalties that include loss of scholarships, public admonishment, restrictions on practice and competition and even expulsion from the NCAA.
Under the direction of four-time National Coach of the Year Jamie Dixon and Director of Academic Support Services Mike Farabaugh, the Pitt Basketball program has consistently ranked among the best ACC or Big East team performers in the APR. The Panthers have also earned a Team Academic Achievement Award for Most Improved Academic Team in 2004, 2006 and 2008.
“Graduating student-athletes will always be the No. 1 priority for our program,” Dixon said. “Placing among the nation’s top-10 percent in the APR is a tremendous honor for our university and a great reward for all of the hard work and dedication that our players have put into their studies.”
Over the last 13 years, Pitt Basketball has captured six Big East championships (four regular season, two tournament), compiled a 345-106 overall record which ranks among the nation’s top-5 winningest programs and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 13 seasons, one of only seven programs nationwide to achieve that honor (Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin). During that span, Pitt has won more overall games (345) and league contests (152) than all but one ACC program, accumulated a 193-27 record in the Petersen Events Center and has earned two No. 1 seeds upon entering the NCAA Tournament. It has also sold out an impressive 223 consecutive regular season home games dating back to January 12, 2002.