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Football: APR score jumps after 2013 lowpoint

Cal’s Academic Performance Rate (APR) score for football, which last year had a four-year average that ranked worst in the Pac-12 Conference, will inch higher with results released next week after a substantial hike in its most recent one-year score.

The football team’s 2012-13 score of 969 represents a huge improvement from the 2011-12 single-year score of 923, and boosts Cal’s four-year average from 935 to 938. That mark may still be lowest in the Pac-12 because the program’s low scores from the previous three years remain part of the equation.

The NCAA gave Cal permission to release APR scores for football ahead of its May 14 unveiling of results for all schools and sports nationwide.

Cal men’s basketball will necessarily see a drop in its four-year average because a perfect 1,000 score from 2008-09 is being displaced by the latest single-season mark.

The APR measures academic eligibility and retention or graduation. It is different than the Graduation Success Rate results, which are revealed each fall and strictly charts graduation figures.

Athletic director Sandy Barbour told a media roundtable Monday that the improvements are the result of changes in support structure and the academic culture within the athletic department.

“It’s every day, everything you say to them,” said Barbour, explaining the new emphasis.

Barbour said Cal’s low scores primarily reflected a failure to by the athletic department to require athletes to meet expectations. “I do not lay this on the student-athlete.”

Credit for the improved 2012-13 football marks is shared by both former coach Jeff Tedford, fired after the 2012 season, and new coach Sonny Dykes, who took over before the 2013 spring semester.

The Chancellor’s Task Force for Athletics and Academics has worked since last fall to review the situation and provide suggestions. Meg Conkey, professor emerita for anthropology, serves as chair for the task force, composed of faculty, administrators, coaches, alumni and current students, including football player Stefan McClure.

The task force will submit its report to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks late next month.

Jeff Faraudo