The delicate balance between academics and athletics has always been a hot topic and the sport of the lacrosse is no exception. A couple articles were recently released showing the two ends of the spectrum: those that honor the priority of academics and those that do not. I’ve included links to both so readers can have a chance to peruse them. I came across the first article looking to get my mid-summer fix for football information. Given the issues the Tar Heels had last season, it didn’t bode well that the title spoke of academic slip-ups for the football AND basketball teams. For those of you who do not know, the APR score is a metric used by the NCAA to basically ensure that athletes in all sports aren’t just putting fans in the seats but are completing their degrees as well. Fall too low on the list and your season is at risk; pure and simple.
While the football team is receiving a gentle nudge to get their performance back on track (both on the field and off), we also got a sneak peek into the rest of Tar Heels. I was surprised to see how low lacrosse fell on the list. While the women were sporting a healthy 993 average from the last 3 years, the men’s team had dropped to 967 this year. After checking the official APR website, men’s lacrosse has dropped steadily since 2008. I checked in on a few other notable lacrosse programs too (all numbers from the 2010-2011 season):
As a coach it’s always been a focus of mine to ensure that my players know that they can’t succeed (much less be recruited) if they don’t have the performance in the classroom to back it up. In my eyes, having the privilege to play a sport always meant that more was expected out of you than other NARPs (non-athletic regular people). I’d like to think that most coaches subscribe to that theory which brings me to the second article. While the Tar Heels didn’t look great this year, the Pioneers had an even worse 2011. What gives me a little bit of hope for the sport of lacrosse is the six Academic All-Americans that were named on Denver’s team this year. Improvement is the name of the game and Bill Tierney doesn’t seem like a guy to take sub-par performance lightly. Keep your eyes peeled for updates to all the 2012 APR scores and search for Denver’s, I’ll bet you’ll be seeing some major improvements… or else.