MORGANTOWN — West Virginia and Marshall have once again cleared the NCAA's yearly academic hurdle.
The organization on Tuesday released its annual Academic Progress Rates data and no teams from either of the state's Division I universities face sanctions of any kind.
With a score of 900 (out of 1,000) required in each sport in order to avoid sanctions that can include scholarship reductions and postseason bans, the average of West Virginia's 17 teams was 973 over the most recent four-year period (2008-09 through 2011-12). Marshall's average of 16 squads was 972. That's a decrease of two points for WVU over the previous four-year average and an increase of four points for Marshall.
The closest any team at the two schools came to the cutoff was West Virginia's baseball team, which has a four-year average of 922, down from a program high of 956 two years ago.
Marshall's men's basketball team, which had a four-year average of 910 last year, went up to 924. That squad's score had dropped each of the previous four years.
West Virginia's lowest score a year ago was a 928 in wrestling. But that is now back up to 945 for a program that in two of the first three years of the APR suffered slight scholarship reductions in 2007 and 2009 for inadequate scores.
Marshall again had the only team among the two schools that recorded a perfect four-year score of 1,000 — women's tennis. Four teams from each school had four-year averages of 990 or better, all in women's sports — WVU's cross country, gymnastics, indoor track and outdoor track, and Marshall's tennis, soccer, golf and softball.
Seven WVU teams had perfect scores for the 2011-12 school year alone, up from three the previous year — men's basketball, women's basketball, women's cross country, women's gymnastics, women's indoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field and wrestling. Gymnastics had a perfect score the previous year, too, along with rowing and men's soccer. In all, nine of the school's 17 sports have recorded a perfect score within the last two years.
West Virginia's overall 973 average did, however, break a string of four straight years in which its four-year average increased. It had gone from 956 in 2007-08, to 964, 968, 974 and 975 before the slight drop.
Because of that slight drop, WVU is now one point below the national average, which went up a point to 974 this year. Marshall is two points below the average.
Eight of WVU's teams exceeded the national average for their sport — men's basketball and soccer, and women's basketball, cross country, gymnastics, soccer and indoor and outdoor track. At Marshall, six teams did the same — men's cross country and women's softball, golf, soccer, tennis and indoor track.
The APR is calculated based upon continuing eligibility and retention of student-athletes, with each student receiving a possible two points per semester for remaining eligible and in school. Each team's APR score is the total points earned divided by the team's total possible points, multiplied by 1,000.