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NCAA’s academic report might be costly to UNLV

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA is getting tough on academics, and teams from predominantly black colleges and schools in the Hurricane Katrina region are getting hit hardest.

The NCAA’s latest Academic Progress Report, released Wednesday, shows historically black colleges and universities account for about 13 percent of all schools facing potential scholarship losses or receiving warning letters because of poor classroom performance.

UNLV’s football team was among those singled out as being in danger of losing scholarships.

Whether the data collected over the last three years might have been skewed by student defections after the hurricane, which could have affected a team’s score, wasn’t clear.

This is the first time the NCAA has sent warning letters based on academic performance.

The Academic Progress Report calculation measures eligibility and retention of student-athletes. Teams scoring less than 900 can’t replace scholarships if an academically ineligible player leaves school. The maximum loss is 10 percent of the team’s scholarships.

Teams scoring less than 925 in this latest report received warning letters. UNLV, with an APR at 901, could lose up to three scholarships.

“The APR is very important to us, and we’ve instituted policies to monitor and improve our academic standing from both a graduation standpoint and improving the APR,” UNLV football coach Mike Sanford said. “We expect we will never have a problem with this in the future.”

NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon said many teams from predominantly black colleges and the Hurricane Katrina area were granted waivers, which allows the school to avoid punishment for now. Lennon said more than 50 teams at HBCUs were given waivers.

The Review-Journal contributed to this report.

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