Graduation rate is more bad news for UConn

Graduation rate is more bad news for UConn

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's basketball program - already banned from the postseason for failing to meet other academic standards - has a graduation success rate of just 11 percent, according to an NCAA report released Thursday.

The GSR, released Thursday, measures the percentage of student-athletes earning diplomas at a school over a six-year period. This year's numbers are for the classes that entered school from 2002 to 2005.

UConn's 11 percent rate was far below the national average of 68 percent for men's basketball.

Athletic Director Warde Manual, who took that job this year, said the school is committed to improving the program's performance.

``I want to be clear that everyone at UConn is and will always be committed to academic excellence for all of our student-athletes and in particular our men's basketball players,'' Manuel said in a statement. ``The University and its Division of Athletics has implemented changes that are designed to positively impact the academic performance of our men's basketball student-athletes.''

Those changes include mandated sanctions for any player who misses three or more classes during the academic year and daily checks of course work for student-athletes who have a grade-point average of 2.3 or lower.

UConn was barred from the 2013 NCAA Tournament when it failed to score high enough on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate, which measures whether student athletes have remained in school and academically eligible for competition.

Manuel pointed to improvements last year in the APR as a sign that those changes are working.

The team scored a 978 out of 1000 for the 2010-11, the season it won its third NCAA Championship. That was up from 826 on the APR for 2009-10.

The school has said another high score is expected for the 2011-12 academic year when it is announced next June.

In a conference call with reporters, Walter Harrison, the chairman of the Committee on Academic Performance and the president of the University of Hartford, said UConn's graduation success rate has much to do with the players that the school chose to bring into the program. He said that institutions that want to improve their GSR numbers should be more selective about whom they admit.

UConn pointed out that 14 of its 19 athletic programs have graduation success rates at or above the national average.


Associated Press Sports Writer Michael Marot contributed to this story from Indianapolis

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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