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School-Record Seven Kentucky Teams Win NCAA Academic Progress Rate Award

Men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s swimming and diving, volleyball among nation’s top 10% in their sports

LEXINGTON, Ky. – May 12, 2020

University of Kentucky Athletics set a school record with seven teams – men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s swimming and diving and volleyball – receiving Public Recognition Awards for their Academic Progress Rate scores, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

The Wildcat squads received the honor for placing in the top 10% of the Division I schools in their respective sports. The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success by the progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation. The scores are a four-year composite, covering the 2015-16 through the 2018-19 school years. 

Having seven teams earn the APR top-10 award breaks the school record of six that was set each of the last two years. It’s also the first time that a UK squad has won in nine consecutive years, as this marks nine in a row for men’s golf. Men’s basketball is a seven-year winner, including the last six years in a row. Women’s golf and volleyball are four-year winners. Women’s basketball earned the award for the third year in a row and it is the second top-10 honor for gymnastics.  It is the first award for women’s swimming and diving.

“Making progress toward graduation is an essential part of the experience at UK,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “The fact that seven of our teams rank among the best in the nation in their APR scores is a testament to both the work of our student-athletes and the commitment of our coaches and staff. Congratulations to our men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, volleyball and gymnastics teams for earning this recognition.”

The Wildcat coaches are gratified about their teams’ achievements.

  • “We make a commitment to the University of Kentucky to recruit great athletes who excel in the classroom,” said volleyball coach Craig Skinner. “Our student-athletes care about their performance both in the classroom and on the court. This is a program that embodies character, discipline, and hard work and it shows with consistent successes in each area. (Academic counselor) Amy Craiglow guides our players through their academic careers and challenges them to be their best. This recognition is a compliment to her efforts.”
  • “What an honor for the Kentucky women’s swimming and diving team to be recognized in this way,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “This group of women have, no doubt, bought into what it means to be a student-athlete at this school. They have created a culture in which it’s equally as important to excel in the classroom as in the pool, and it’s been inspiring to see. We’ve had outstanding leadership in this program, and as a team these young women continue to set aggressive but fair goals in their academics and in their training. More than anything, we’re grateful for the steadfast guidance and dedication of Joshua Ray, their academic advisor.”
  • “I’m very proud of the academic achievements of our team,” gymnastics coach Tim Garrison said. “These young women take their role as student-athletes very seriously and achieve at a high level in competition and in the classroom. I also want to thank (academic counselor) Mike Haley and the staff at CATS for their guidance and dedication.”
  • “We will never become content with winning this award,” said Golda Borst, women’s golf coach. “When we set out every season, we challenge our girls to meet our academic expectations with the same approach we demand of them on the course, in that we set the bar high. For our girls to finish in the top 10% again is a credit to their focus and hard work – especially with all the traveling we do – and the attention, time and care our academic advisor, Joshua Ray, and his staff put in with our girls. It takes a lot of effort on a lot of fronts to manage the schedule of a student-athlete, and I’m very proud of girls for continuing to focus on life after golf.”
  • “I continue to be so proud of our players and their drive to excel in the classroom,” men’s golf coach Brian Craig said. “They embrace what it means to be a student-athlete at the University of Kentucky and to succeed in all areas of life. Their commitment to academics is led by Amy Craiglow in our academic center, who is simply the best of the best. It’s an honor to once again accept this award on Amy’s and our guys’ behalf.”
  • “This marks the third straight year our program has earned this high honor and I want to give the credit to our students and staff that work so hard every day to make sure our program has a culture of academic excellence,” women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell said. “When everyone involved with your program puts such an increased importance on academics it pays off for the students now and for the rest of their lives. Our academic advisor, Tiffany Hayden, is the best at motivating our students academically and making sure they have everything they need to succeed and I cannot thank her enough. This award is a direct reflection of the foundation of our program with a 100 percent graduation rate and 12 straight semesters with a team GPA over 3.0 and I could not be prouder.”
  • “This is the sixth straight season our program has received this award, something we take tremendous pride in,” said men’s basketball coach John Calipari. “At the end of the day, we are here to put these kids in an opportunity and on a stage to chase their dreams — to prepare them for the next step of their lives. Whether that’s playing basketball professionally or entering the business world or whatever they choose to do, our kids leave here as lifelong learners. That’s a credit to their hard work and the support and guidance of Michael Stone and our CATS staff. They challenge our players in the classroom in all areas.”  

The APR scores of these teams, along with the scores of every Division I team in all sports, will be released later by the NCAA. Teams are subject to penalties if the APR target score is not achieved.

Tuesday’s news is a continuation of the academic accomplishments of UK student-athletes:

  • In October, it was announced that UK student-athletes broke one school record and tied another for NCAA Graduation Success Rate and Federal Graduation Rate. UK has broken or tied the GSR school record every year since the NCAA began measuring that statistic in 2005.
  • UK athletes have posted an overall grade-point average over 3.0 in each of the last 15 semesters, with the spring semester completed last week in process of tabulation. 
  • Including the 2019 winter commencement and last week’s spring graduation, 97 Wildcat student-athletes have earned degrees during the 2019-20 school year.

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