Olivia K. Paul
On January 9th of 2020, the director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. D. Scott Gines sent an email out concerning the decline in Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores over the past two years. Student-athletes’ scores have “dipped below the national standard” at Delaware State University, according to Dr. Gines.
According to Dr. Gines, falling below the standard forces the University to create Performance Improvement Plans. These reform programs decreased their practice and training time by 20% to realign their focus and effort for academic enrichment.
The APR is a real-time measure of retention and academic performance which is computed yearly and submitted by scorecards to the NCAA. Based on the NCAA’s guidelines “the institution’s single-year APR targets included in the plan will move the team to or above the 930-penalty benchmark within a reasonable period if they are met.” Within the email, Dr. D. Scott Gines makes it clear that the university will pass each target.
“Decreasing practice and the amount of time and effort you spend into sports won’t increase the amount of time you put into your books,” said Gyasi Ajani Hughes, a student-athlete. “However, now you can argue you won’t be as tired and you’ll have more energy to do schoolwork, but that’s what you sign up for.”
Some of the student-athletes feel it is unfair to penalize all athletes. Udy Ubom Jr., a track and field runner, explained that some athletes do have outstanding grades and can balance their training and academics without a problem. “Personally I feel like it could work but it all goes back to how you as an individual makes use of your time.”
The penalties given will no-doubt set back our sports programs due to the decrease in practice and training time. New coaches, Milstead and Skeeters are on board with creating a culture that “demands excellence on and off the field court.” In the email Dr. D. Scott Gines states “Our entire Athletics staff, including the nine new head coaches who joined the University Athletics department over the past 18 months, is committed to a culture of leadership and accountability… That is the standard by which we are all operating.”
The Athletic Department at Delaware State University is committed to its student’s success. These programs that are set in stone are designed to ensure that the students at Delaware are not only talented but academically successful.