Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fresno State still haunted by Ray Lopes

Ah, the long reach of the Academic Progress Rate (APR). There's no easy answers but a certainly appropriate question is why are Coach Steve Cleveland and the current Fresno State men's basketball players (as with other coaches, colleges and student athletes) effected by personnel decisions made by a previous coach and the academic woes of previous players? It's like inheriting an unpaid bill from a previous tenant and being forced to pay.

Part of the solution should be both looking at and weighing what has taken place academically since a new coach's arrived -- that should count heavily in any determination. If the academic failings of a former coach and set of players puts a basketball program into such a deep hole that it takes close to a decade to climb out then something is wrong with the system. Leeway should be the watch word of the day if genuine improvement has been made.

Bulldogs fear new hoops setback
Academic issues could lead to more lost scholarships
Gary Estwick
The Fresno Bee

The issue: The men's basketball team's history of low academic progress is a problem that takes years to correct.

At stake: Fresno State could face reduced scholarships and practice time, or the NCAA could cite progress and not penalize. Fresno State men's basketball faces possible penalties in the coming months as the NCAA evaluates the program's historically low academic progress rate.

The NCAA will release its annual APR report in early May, and Fresno State is expected to earn a four-year average under the minimum of 900. The score could place the program -- already on the NCAA's public warning list -- in danger of losing scholarships and practice time next season, as well as other penalties.

The NCAA has contacted Fresno State and requested academic-related information, coach Steve Cleveland confirmed Monday afternoon.

"At this point in time, we don't know what will happen," Cleveland said. "We're waiting for the NCAA to let us know. We'll find out in the coming weeks."

Fresno State already is expecting to lose one scholarship because Dominic McGuire departed early for the NBA in poor academic standing. Had he left eligible before he signed a professional basketball contract, he would not have hurt the team's academic standing.

Even if Fresno State's projected score for the 2006-07 year was a perfect 1,000 -- meaning every scholarship athlete ended the fall and spring semesters academically eligible, and returned to the university the following semester -- Fresno State still would fall below the minimum average score for the fourth consecutive school year...

Go here for the remainder.

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