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Student-Athletes Lead in Academic Performance

May 12, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom, according to the Academic Progress Rate (APR) data released last week by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Northwestern earned an APR score of 993 for the second-straight year across all of its athletic programs in 2007-08, matching its highest score in the five-year history of the APR program. Northwestern's four-year APR average is 985.

"Our student-athletes continue to score tremendously well in the latest APR data, which is yet another indication of our dedicated commitment in the classroom," Northwestern Athletic Director Jim Phillips said. "These young men and women represent what being a true student-athlete is all about. We are exceptionally proud to remain a leader among our peers in graduation rates while still competing for championships in every one of our 19 varsity sports."

Every Northwestern program has a four-year average APR of 971 or better, with 12 programs earning a perfect 1,000 score: men's tennis, women's golf, men's basketball, men's golf, men's soccer, wrestling, cross country, field hockey, softball, women's swimming, women's tennis and volleyball.

The NCAA honored five Northwestern teams with public recognition awards in April for their latest multi-year APR scores. Men's soccer, men's tennis, women's golf, women's volleyball and wrestling were honored for being in the top 10 percent.

Northwestern's football team compiled an outstanding 992 APR score for the second year in a row to earn a four-year rate of 973, two points higher than its score last year. The average cumulative APR for the sport is 935 according to the latest data. In addition the football team has won the American Football Coaches Association's (AFCA) Academic Achievement Award for having the highest graduation rate in the country in four of the last seven years.

Northwestern led the Big Ten and broke its own school record by earning 75 Academic All-Big Ten honors in six fall sports in 2008. The Wildcats led the league in honors per sport. The Wildcats' 75 total honors in one sport season breaks their previous school mark of 68 set in the fall of 2007. Northwestern's football program bested its previous high of 18 awards in 2007 with a whopping 26 Academic All-Big Ten honorees in 2008. Overall in 2008-09, Northwestern has won 116 Academic All-Big Ten honors through the fall and winter sport seasons, while adding five ESPN The Magazine Academic All District V and three ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America accolades.

Northwestern student-athletes have been able to achieve academic success while also competing at the highest level. Despite fielding fewer varsity athletics programs than most BCS schools, Northwestern has finished in the top 40 in the U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup standings in each of the last four years.

Division I sports team calculate their APR each academic year, based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship student-athlete. It also serves as a predictor of graduation success. All information in the latest report is for the past four academic years (2004-08).
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