It's not hard to forget that in the multibillion dollar business of the NCAA, that the kids on the athletic fields, courts and diamonds are also students. The good news is that coaches and student-athletes at the University of Utah are taking care of business outside the lines and inside the classroom.
Every year the NCAA releases a report called the Academic Performance Report (APR). The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation of all student-athletes on scholarship, and provides a measure of each team's academic performance. The latest multi-year APR calculations include scores from 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
In the most recent APR, Utah's overall average for all athletics was 980. It's based off of 1000-point system, and the NCAA minimum required score is 930. If a program, or athletic department , fails to meet these minimum requirements, penalties can include scholarship reductions, lost practice time, and post season bans.
Utah football scored a 985, a team record, and raised its multi-year APR to 970. Utah ranked 3rd in the Pac-12 in football APR, behind UCLA, and yes, Stanford.
Utah men's basketball team achieved a perfect score of 1000, bringing its multi-year average to 979. Coach Larry Krystkowiak and staff has done an amazing job keeping the APR up with all of the turnover that has happened with the basketball program over the last four years.
The other Utah athletic programs to score 1000 are men's golf, men's skiing, men's tennis, women's skiing, women's soccer, women's tennis and volleyball.
Obviously, the student-athletes at Utah need commended for all the hard work they've put in between practices, traveling, and team commitments, but the coaches are doing a great job stressing academics and making sure their kids are getting to class. This is especially important in football and basketball, the big ticket sports, where a small percentage of the kids are going to make it to the professional ranks; the coaches are making sure they have a degree to fall back on in life. After all, athletics are temporary, a degree is something nobody can take away.