Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Husker Runners Honored by NCAA

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln - Nebraska's women's cross country team was honored by the NCAA on Tuesday for their exceptional work in the classroom as part of the NCAA's Public Recognition Awards. The Huskers were honored for the second straight year and were among more than 900 teams from across the country recognized for their outstanding classroom work.

The Association announced that 909 teams earned Public Recognition Awards, based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates. These awards are given each year to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with their APRs. 

Through its innovative APR, which provides an annual scorecard of academic achievement, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I sports team.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said top-performing teams this year posted APR scores ranging from 977 to a perfect 1,000. The number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on the number of perfect scores.

"Most student-athletes excel at balancing their academic and athletics commitments, yet each year there are those who perform at extraordinary levels," Emmert said. "By achieving the highest levels of academic success as a team, these young men and women truly embody what it means to be a successful NCAA student-athlete."

The women's cross country team under the direction of Head Coach Jay Dirksen has won Nebraska's Herman Award the three of the past four years as the team with the highest grade-point average on campus, including a 3.504 GPA during the 2010 calendar year.

During the 2010 cross country season, the Huskers were named a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association All-Academic team, as they posted the eighth-best GPA of the 192 teams honored across the country. Individually, six Huskers were named first-team selections to the Big 12 All-Academic Team and were led by junior Katie White, who posted a 4.0 GPA for the second straight year.

By measuring eligibility and retention each semester or quarter, the APR provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport, Emmert said. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years.

The 909 teams publicly recognized this year for high achievement represent 14 percent of the 6,385 eligible Division I teams. The list includes 525 women's teams and 384 men's or mixed squads.

A total of 239 institutions, out of 335 Division I colleges and universities, placed at least one team on the top APR list. Another 11 schools that offer athletics in more than one division, out of 52 overall within the NCAA, placed Division I teams on the list as well.

For the sixth consecutive year, Yale University had the most teams (23) recognized, followed by Brown University (22) and Dartmouth College (21). By conference, the Ivy Group had the most number of teams honored (135), followed by the Patriot League (82), the Big East Conference (77), the Atlantic Coast Conference (61) and the Atlantic 10 (56).

Last year, 841 teams were recognized. In the six years of the NCAA's academic reform program, 1,992 different teams have received Public Recognition Awards, representing 31 percent of eligible sports teams during that time.  Of that total, 260 teams have received Public Recognition Awards each of the six years of the program.


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