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Irish sports lead way in NCAA academic honors

It’s not the kind of news that gets as much attention as hoisting a championship trophy, but it’s arguably just as important.

Notre Dame student-athletes were honored by the NCAA today as the 2011 Academic Progress Rate (APR) was released, with the Irish athletic department leading the way among D-I sports teams.

Seventeen Notre Dame sports programs posted APR scores in the top 10 percent of their respective sports, nine from the men’s side, and eight from the women’s.

This from the official release:

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame ranked number one among all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions with 17 of its athletics programs receiving 2011 Academic Progress Rate public recognition awards, as the NCAA today honored Division I sports teams for their latest multi-year APR scores.

These 17 Irish teams posted multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports. The public recognition awards are part of the broad Division I academic reform effort. These awards are based on the most recent APR numbers that represent the combination of scores from the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years.

Here are the 17 Notre Dame programs honored this year for the multi-year achievement:

  • Men’s Sports (9) -- baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, tennis, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field.
  • Women’s Sports (8) - cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field.

Notre Dame had a previous high of 15 programs honored a year ago in 2010, after 14 programs were honored in 2009. Eleven Irish programs were honored each of the previous two years, in both 2007 and 2008.

Here are the former Division I football-playing institution that ranked in the top 10 this year, in terms of programs honored:

1. Notre Dame 17
2. Duke 15
3. Boston College 11
4. Vanderbilt 10
5. (tie) Northwestern 9
Penn State 9
Stanford 9
Texas 9
9. U.S. Naval Academy 8
10. North Carolina 7

The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes both retention at an institution and academic eligibility in its calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.

Combine these results with the great success that the men’s and women’s sports programs have had on the field this year and it’s been a great run for the Irish athletic department.