Comparing Student Athletes in VA

“Dumb Jock” “Meat Head” these are just some of the few insults some student athletes receive on a regular basis, but are they really warranted? Before I go into my whole data analysis though I want to make sure to reminds myself and anybody else of one very critical thing. That is it always important to get to know someone before attempting to judge them and no matter what the data might say it is never 100% accurate, their are always exceptions to the rule Just because someone is categorized by society as a “Jock”, “Nerd” or anything else for that matter does not really mean that is the only thing they are good at or should be know for. Do not let anyone put you in a box, or try to define you by what little they know of you, always strive to satisfy God first and everything else will fall in line.

Now for the Data:

In 2004 the NCAA started collecting data on a metric called the Academic Progress Report (APR) which gives us a little insight into the aforementioned question.

The simplest explanation I can really give on how the APR is calculated is that you get one point for staying in school and one pint for being academically eligible per student on the team. Then you add together all of the points you have divide by the eligible amount of points you could have had and then multiply that number by 1,000.

Example:

VCU Baseball Team

Players: 96 (over a ten year span)

If 95 players stay in school and remain academically eligible they will receive 190 points, divide the 190 by the total points possible of 192 (96*2) And you get 0.98 finally multiple that by 1,000 to get your final score

So the VCU baseball team’s APR Score is 989.58

Because of this handy metric I was able to compare almost all the school in Virginia by using an average of the schools APR between the years 2004–2014.

First off here is a little breakdown including all sports, by college in VA:

Unsurprisingly, here we have both UVA and W&M neck in neck for first place in the state with both of those averaging near perfect scores. However, what is a little shocking to me is how low VT placed (second to last) as well as the fact that there is was a ten point drop off after the first two schools.

Although with that their were a few teams over this time span (‘04-’14) who had perfect records and interestingly enough Men’s golf accounted for three of the total sixteen recipients.

Shamefully, staring me right in the face is how VCU, my alma mater failed to even have one team with a perfect score over the ten year period in which W&M (colonial nerds) had six.

Something that did occur to me is how most sports are segregated by gender and I was curious to see if the data would tell the same story if I split the sports into male and female categories.

What most interested me here was how much the ARP scores ticket up for female student athletes attending GMU, VMI and ODU.

Converse to the above comment you would also expect to see a drop in similar portion to GMU, VMI and ODU for their male student athletes. What is most interesting to note here is that almost every schools female APR is the roughly the same or higher than the average for males. Which is actually in line with the national average of females ( 987 avg across the nation) absolutely demolish males (977 avg across the country) when it comes to the academic progress rate.

Here is are a couple graphs displaying the average APR by sex across the nation:

One last thing I would like to mention that really peaked my interest is how big of a difference their is between FBS and FCS football APR scores. My own little hypothesis is that a number of athletes declare early for the draft (before their senior year) in FBS program versus a drastically less number of FCS football players going pro. Consequently they are no longer on the team for their junior or senior year and unable to contribute to their teams APR score.

Although getting back to the question posed earlier which was do athlete deserve to be categorized as “Meat heads” based on the data I would have to say no. Because while it is a pretty low bar set by the NCAA in their APR score criteria (staying in school and being academically eligible) almost every sport nationally averages at least a 960 and in my book that’s an A+.

Anyway I would love to hear a rebuttal to any of my thoughts and I hope you enjoyed and learned something from this post.

*Also as a side-note VMI was the only school to have a team with both male and female athletes (mixed rifle) so to account for that I went ahead and included that team in both my male and female APR score population.