Excuse me if I yawn while the NCAA releases its Academic Progress Rate numbers. From Auburn's standpoint, the numbers are good enough to avoid any problems, which is really all that matters.
Senior Editor Phillip Marshall
What the APR really is, more than anything, is something to make university presidents, led by NCAA president Mark Emmert, feel like they are actually putting academics first while they pay coaches millions of dollars and spend tens of millions of dollars to build facilities to make 17-year-old recruits say "wow!"
I mean, the APR is only partly about academics. Kick a guy off because he uses drugs, that hurts your APR. Baseball players leave after their junior seasons, that hurts your APR. A football player, No. 5 on the depth chart behind two walk-ons, leaves in search of playing time, that hurts your APR. So what if none of those things has squat to do with academics?
College athletes certainly ought to be required to be legitimate students, and despite what the hand-wringers would have you believe, a vast majority of them are. In fact, in the ongoing effort to say "See, we put academics first," the NCAA has actually made it harder on athletes than on others.
Sooner or later, the men and women in their ivory towers are going to have to accept the reality that college athletes aren't like other college students. They just aren't.
To be sure, athletes have academic help others don't. That's as it should be. If you are going to bring a marginal student to your school because he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, you owe it to him to give him or her all the tools you can to help him succeed.
The APR measures nothing of consequence, really. It's a made-up formula or "model" as the NCAA likes to call the silly ideas they come up with. The fewer resources a school has to devote to academic support, the more likely it is to have APR problems that can eventually lead to losing scholarships or postseason eligibility. Just look at the list of schools in trouble.
Anyone who believes Auburn or Alabama or Georgia or Florida will ever allow themselves to get into a situation where they lose scholarships or can't go to a bowl game because of APR numbers isn't living in the real world.
I've never known a coach who didn't want his or her players to do well in school. I've also never known a coach to lose a job because of APR scores or graduation rates.
High APR scores are nice. High graduation rates are nice.
In the real world of college athletics, wins are better.