Fans get ready for the second half of the Southeast game against Murray State on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)
The NCAA announced Wednesday that Southeast Missouri State men’s basketball is one of 17 Division I programs that will be ineligible for postseason play in 2017-18 as a result of low Academic Progress Rate scores.
The program had an APR of 925 between the 2012-13 and 2015-16 academic years, missing the necessary score of 930 to avoid penalties. Former coach Dickey Nutt helmed the program for three of those years before he was fired and replaced by current coach Rick Ray prior to the start of the 2015-16 season.
Along with being ineligible for the postseason, practice time will be restricted to 16 hours and five days per week during the season.
Of the 17 teams with postseason punishment, SEMO men's basketball is the most prominent.
Alabama A&M, Grambling and Savannah State men's basketball were handed postseason ineligibility as well, as did Savannah State football. But all of those programs are smaller than Southeast's. The rest of the punishments were handed out in less prominent sports.
Of the schools handed penalties, Southeast is the second largest institution in terms of enrollment, behind only Illinois-Chicago (men's cross country).
“The academic success of our student-athletes remains our top priority and we are committed to improving the academic success of our men's basketball program,” Southeast director of athletics Brady Barke said in a news release. “We have developed a strong APR Improvement Plan designed to improve both the academic success of our student-athletes and enhance our ability to retain student-athletes at our institution.”
Barke said the plan focuses on a more effective delivery of services offered through SEMO’s Holcomb Success Center to build stronger relationships and enhance the academic experiences of student-athletes.
“We have increased the tutoring and academic support services available to our student-athletes and future improvements planned for the Holcomb Success Center will provide improved tutoring and study hall space,” Barke said.
"Beginning this summer, we will introduce a summer bridge program for our incoming student-athletes to ensure they are able to successfully transition into our institution. This programming will continue throughout their time at our institution to better equip them for future success. We have also invested in a robust software package that improves communication and assists them with scheduling and balancing time demands.”
APR measures eligibility and progress toward graduation for athletes. The number of programs across the count that failed to meet the APR standards is down 23 from last year.
The average score for men’s basketball programs improved from 964 to 966.
"From the day coach Rick Ray was hired, he has emphasized the importance of academic success for his student-athletes,” Barke said. “During his brief tenure, the academic profile of the incoming student-athletes has shown improvement in both grade-point average and test scores. I believe the appropriate leadership is in place in both our men's basketball program and our Academic Services area to ensure our student-athletes are able to succeed.
“We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we are able to exceed the NCAA's APR standards in the future."
Click HERE to see a full list to APR scores as released by the NCAA.