Not making the grade


Some things to consider about the Florida men’s basketball program’s 919 score in the Academic Progress Rate, which did not meet minimum NCAA standards and was the lowest of 20 UF athletic programs:

” Florida will not lose a scholarship based on an appeal that showed it would have scored above the minimum threshold of 925 under updated rules that take into account players leaving early for the NBA Draft.

” Florida assistant athletic director Fred Demarest said that the score was hurt as much by transfers as it was by the 2004 class leaving early, because the 04s left school in good academic standing.

” The average NCAA men’s basketball score for Division I programs was 928, just three points above the minimum threshold.

” In the SEC, Florida’s 919 score was in the middle of the pack (sixth) out of the 12 men’s basketball programs. Vanderbilt, at 985, was first, followed by Georgia (958), Arkansas (944), Kentucky (941) and Alabama (928). Below UF’s 919 were Ole Miss (917), Tennessee (911), LSU (910), Auburn (905), Mississippi State (901) and South Carolina (899).

” Three of Florida’s four eligible players (Jonathan Mitchell, Dan Werner and Walter Hodge) made the SEC Academic honor roll by posting grade-point averages above 3.0 this past semester.

So while the UF men’s basketball program has room for academic improvement, it’s not a renegade program that ignores the books. But those who say you can’t build a competitive program without high academic expectations should consider that Vanderbilt, with its 985 score, came within a questionable travel call of reaching the Elite Eight for the season that the APR data was collected (2006-07).