ABC's of the APR: Even with recent turnover rate, U basketball team not in danger of sanctions

Published: Tuesday, June 5 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

"I'm not going to keep a young man around here if it doesn't make any sense," Krystkowiak said. "I'm not going to try to talk him out of it over losing an APR point. I think at the end of the day, you try to do what's right by the kid."

Back when the APR was first instituted in 2003, the Ute basketball program had a very low number. Majerus was the coach at the time and despite his incessant talk about his team's great "academic endeavor," it wasn't in very good shape, APR-wise, when he left in 2004.

Utah's initial APR score was just 837 for the 2003-04 season, way below the cutoff line of 925, and it took all of Ray Gicaoletti's three-year reign to get the number above the cutoff.

Because the APR is a multi-year score, designed not to penalize a single poor year, the Utes were OK for a couple of years as the APR gradually took effect.

Aftter Giacoletti's first year, when a few players left the program, the score was 913, raising the two-year average to 875. The next two years, the basketball program's scores were 980 and 980, respectively, bringing it above the NCAA minimum.

That was also the score for Boylen's first year and he followed that with perfect scores of 1,000 in 2008-09 and 2009-10. After the 2010 season, the Utah basketball program's multi-year rating was 990, one of the best in the nation.

Then last year when the coaching change was made and several players left the team, the Utes' APR score dropped to 913 for the 2010-11 school year.

The score for this year won't be determined until the fall when the next school year begins and the retention points officially kick in. However, the Ute numbers will be down again with at least one player heading to a junior college and the possibility of not every player getting at least a 2.6 GPA this past semester, although no players left early.

But say the Utes get another 913 this year, their four-year average would still be 956, well above the 925 minimum required on the multi-year average. However, with the NCAA gradually increasing its standards in future years with a 930 four-year APR average required by 2014-15, the Utah basketball program can't have any more years like the past two.

"Kids ask to transfer every year," said Krystkowiak, who pointed to a recent report that said more than 500 players transferred from Division I schools. "You're going to have a little bit of that, but if you can have those guys lined up academically and not go to a juco, you can protect yourself a little bit."

Although it was obvious that the Utes preferred to upgrade their roster at most positions after their disastrous 6-25 season, the players who decided to leave — or were gently nudged out the door — are leaving on good terms with the Utah program.

"I see these guys every day," Krystkowiak said, just before the spring semester ended. "They're still part of our team and have helped us recruit. I told those guys, 'Go up and introduce yourselves (to recruits). We have nothing to hide. If they want to ask questions, be truthful.' "

It helped that players such as Watkins, who was dismissed from the team in January, stuck it out and finished the semester and got his degree. If he had dropped out of school and not finished the semester, Utah would have lost two points, which translates into about 40 points on the APR score.

"The APR is about making sure your guys are taking care of business," Krystkowiak said. "We're trying to control what we can and get these kids to good places and making sure they take care of their school work. At the end of the day if you do those two things, you don't get hit with any (negative APR) points."

email: sor@desnews.com

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