Sports Programs That Excel Academically
To examine which schools have been most successful at adapting their student athletes to the accumulating pressures, The Daily Beast decided to look at the academic success of the largest, most competitive sports programs at universities across the country.
To rank the college teams according to academic records, they first limited the pool to only the universities in one of the six Division I BCS conferences (for a total of 66 schools) to consider the most competitive sports programs. For each institution, they referred to the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Academic Progress Rate (APR), a metric of academic eligibility and retention for student athletes that's designed to predict ultimate graduation rates.
To get a snapshot of the largest sports programs—and specifically student performance among those recruited in substantial measure for the their athletic abilities—they averaged the 2008-2009 APR scores (the most recent statistics available) for the football, men's basketball and women's basketball. Ties were broken according to each institution's multiyear APRs, which represent the APR scores from the preceding four seasons.