UCLA in Danger of NCAA Tourney Ban Due to Low Academic Scores


UCLA is one of the blue bloods of men’s college basketball, as their record 11 NCAA Division I championships can attest.

But the Bruins could be on the verge of not even having the opportunity to participate in the 2021 NCAA Tournament due to poor academic performance.

UCLA’s Academic Progress Rate has dipped so low that it could lead to a postseason ban for the Bruins, the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday.

“The APRs are the best judge of academic performance in major college sports, a close-to-real-time means of holding head coaches accountable,” according to The Mercury News’ Jon Wilmer.

UCLA’s multi-year score following the 2017-18 academic year came in at 933, which was the lowest in the Pac-12 by a decent margin. (Oregon was 11th at 958.) The 930 threshold is needed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

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“The [Committee on Academics] has set the achievement of 930 APR as a requirement for participation in championships, similar to a winning record,” NCAA spokeswoman Michelle Brutlag Hosick said in an email to The Mercury News.

“Unless the postseason ban is waived or avoided through the use of a filter,” Hosick added, “teams that don’t achieve the 930 will not participate in the postseason from the first time their multi-year APR falls below that benchmark.”

Thus, if UCLA’s APR dips below 930 after the 2018-19 academic year’s results are incorporated into their multi-year score, then the Bruins will not be eligible for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

“The multi-year score that determines postseason eligibility is based on a rolling four-year average of the single-year scores,” The Mercury News reported.

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From 2015 to 2018, UCLA had scores of 942, 907, 977 and 905, respectively. This means 2015’s score of 942 will be removed from the calculation next year.

Thus, the Bruins need their next score to be above 928 to avoid having their four-year average dip below 430, as The Mercury News noted.

Academics aren’t the only thing that could keep the Bruins from the NCAA Tournament. As of late, their on-court performance simply hasn’t been good enough.

The Bruins missed the tournament last season and have made it to the Round of 64 just once over the last four seasons.

After firing head coach Steve Alford in December and giving assistant Murry Bartow a chance as the interim coach, UCLA hired former Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin in April.

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Meanwhile, it turns out that the Bruins’ basketball squad isn’t the only UCLA team that’s sweating APR scores.

The football team is also walking a fine line, according to 247Sports, posting a four-year APR score of 948, which is also the worst in the Pac-12.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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