ECU Basketball Team Loses Scholarship For '08-'09 Season

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina University Department of Athletics announced institutional information pertaining to the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) that will be released Tuesday, May 6. Eighteen of East Carolina's 19 Division I sports programs are currently in compliance with the association's guidelines and were not subject to penalties.

The ECU men's basketball team has displayed significant improvement. Specific progress addressing issues as measured by the NCAA's APR continues to be made since the program’s coaching staff change at the conclusion of the 2004-05 season:

•In conjunction with the NCAA, ECU has developed and executed an "Academic Improvement Plan" that has encouraged and supported the progress that has occurred;

•The men's basketball team's cumulative GPA has improved from 2.13 in the fall of 2004 to 2.78 in the fall of 2007;

•Every men's basketball student-athlete recruited since the coaching change in 2005 has been eligible every semester in attendance and those that have left the program (transferred) did so in good academic standing with a 2.0 or better GPA;

•In the 2007-08 season, the men's basketball team played all of its non-conference schedule without missing a single class;

•Although ECU does not control the dates and times of C-USA games, by using charter aircraft and by traveling on the day of the game, the men's basketball team played the complete 16-game 2007-08 C-USA schedule while missing only two full days of class.

"It is my opinion that the hands-on efforts of our coaching staff will continue to address the APR in a constructive manner," ECU Athletic Director Terry Holland said. "It is possible that no other NCAA institution has shown a comparable improvement in team GPA during this time period and I believe that the ECU men's basketball team's class attendance is among the nation's best as well.

"However, as the NCAA's release of this year's APR data demonstrates, the ECU men's basketball program must continue its strong efforts to address the APR's measurements," Holland added. "The release of the information also displays that an unusual number of transfers continues to hamper our efforts to improve the APR score despite that the critical ‘eligibility’ measurement has been aggressively and productively addressed."

ECU will receive a penalty of the loss of one scholarship for the 2008-09 season and will also have the mandated 20-hour weekly practice time reduced to 18 hours. The two hours of practice time will be replaced with additional academic opportunities in study halls and tutoring sessions.

"Our men's basketball staff has worked extremely hard to address the factors under their control and the resulting GPA improvement is nothing short of spectacular," ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said. "The high number of transfers in men's basketball around the country attest to the reality that institutions do not have the ability to control this particular concern."

The highest multi-year APR scores at East Carolina were earned by the women's tennis (1000), volleyball (994), women's swimming (988), men's golf (985) and women's golf (984) squads. Two Pirate sports, women's tennis and volleyball, were cited as being in the top-10 percent nationwide for their respective sports.