A school-record 15 of Northwestern's 19 varsity athletic programs received Public Recognition Awards on May 20 as part of the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) program.

Northwestern's 15 teams were honored for placing in the top 10 percent of their respective sports in the latest multi-year APR scores. That marks the highest total in both Northwestern and Big Ten Conference history. The Wildcats have paced the Big Ten every year since the award's inception in 2004-05.


"The ability of our young men and women to continually raise the bar when it comes to academic achievement is nothing short of remarkable," said Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation. "This is a tremendous compliment to our student-athletes, who have a relentless commitment to pursuing the best education in college athletics while simultaneously competing at the highest level in the Big Ten Conference.


"Our responsibility to provide the tools necessary for success would not be possible without tremendous leadership from University President Morty Schapiro and Provost Dan Linzer, as well as our academic support staff," said Phillips. "Today is a proud day in our ongoing mission to provide our nearly 500 student-athletes with a world-class experience academically, socially and athletically."


Northwestern ranks as the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school with the highest percentage of its teams awarded today. Notre Dame is the second highest at 65 percent, with Stanford (61%), Duke (58%), and Minnesota (56%) rounding out the top five in that elite group. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.


This year, Northwestern boasts the second-highest percentage (79 percent) of its teams topping the APR list in the nation, according to the NCAA. Only Dartmouth ranked higher, while the 'Cats came in ahead of Lafayette College and Gonzaga. Those are the only four schools that saw three-fourths of their teams making the list.


Only seven Big Ten teams have been honored with Public Recognition Awards in each of the first 10 years that they have been awarded, and five of those programs are from Northwestern. Northwestern's men's soccer, men's tennis, wrestling, women's golf and volleyball teams are proud members of the 10-for-10 club.

Joining the five teams mentioned above, Northwestern's baseball, field hockey, football, men's golf, softball, women's basketball, cross country, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving, and women's tennis teams received Public Recognition Awards.


Each year, the NCAA honors selected Division I sports teams by publicly recognizing their latest multiyear NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR). This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight teams that demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports. Specifically, these teams posted multiyear APRs in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport. This year's release will again include recognition in the sport of football by subdivision (i.e., Football Bowl Subdivision and NCAA Football Championship Subdivision).


The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.

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