The University of North Texas has been ranked as the best school in the Sun Belt Conference for football players to enjoy both academic and athletic success in a new study released by two university professors.
The Student Athlete Performance Rate (SAPR) was developed by University of Iowa sociologist Michael Lovaglia and University of Maryland professor Jeffrey Lucas in an effort to rank the best Div. I football and men’s basketball programs based on a combination of academic progress and athletic success. The two professors launched a web site detailing their study and listing their findings at www.bestschoolsforathletes.org.
The Mean Green football program is ranked at No. 73 of 119 Div. I-A football programs, which is higher than all of the other Sun Belt Conference schools. Sun Belt member Arkansas State was slightly below North Texas at No. 74, followed by Troy (92), Louisiana-Monroe (100), Florida International (102), Florida Atlantic (103), Louisiana-Lafayette (112) and Middle Tennessee (117). North Texas also ranked higher than some schools from the Big 10, Southeastern, Big XII and Pacific 10 conferences. Auburn University is the highest-ranked football program in the SAPR.
The North Texas men’s basketball program is ranked at No. 158, which is in the top half of the total 333 Div. I basketball schools to be ranked.
The SAPR formula was created to determine if there is a relationship between schools that rank highly in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) and the programs that continually enjoy athletic success.
There are two basic components used to determine the SAPR. One component is the Athletic Success Rate (ASR) that combines the following information for each NCAA football and basketball program:
- The number of team wins in the last 5 years
- The team’s all-time winning percentage
- The number of conference championships in the last 5 years
- Total attendance at recent home games
- Number of bowl games in the last 5 years
- Number of national rankings 25th or above in the last 5 years
- Number of program players currently playing in the National Football League (NFL) or National Basketball Association (NBA)
The second component of the SAPR is the Academic Progress Rate (APR) calculated by the NCAA to determine how well teams have promoted the academic progress of their athletes. The APR tracks two critical factors for each athlete on each NCAA team:
- Whether the athlete who participated last year has been retained on the team this year.
- Whether the athlete remains academically eligible to play this year.