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Academic Progress

When Kurt Wermers left town, he tried to take a potshot at the Michigan coaching staff, comparing them unfavorably to Lloyd Carr’s (under whom he never played, for the record). This, of course, has a serious short term effects of making the media insufferable for about a week, and compounding the similar accusations made by Justin Boren on his way out of Ann Arbor. Long term, it may diminish offensive line depth, and even chip away at Michigan’s ability to recruit players (though it flies in the face of, like, everything that anyone else has said about the staff).

Michigan Wolverine Ohio State Buckeye Justin BorenPerhaps the most serious damage Wermers may have inflicted, though, is not in terms of what he did do, but rather what he didn’t: stay eligible. Michigan’s football APR has been declining slightly over the past few years, as the Carr tenure waned and now even more Rich Rodriguez has come into town with his demanding program. Several players – whether they didn’t fit the system, weren’t willing to put in the work, or just wanted to go to Ohio State in the first place but were guilted into Michigan by Bo and used a father’s plow service(!) as an excuse to leave Michigan – have departed since the new sheriff in town took over.

The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate is used by The Toothless Organization to determine which schools aren’t taking care of their student-athletes academically. It is calculated by a 4-year average of scores out of 1000, and if said score dips below 925, tTO will write you a strongly worded letter, then give no actual sanctions (though they’ve gained some teeth, and have punished even a couple BCS conference teams). So how has Michigan done over the past couple years? Take a look:

Michigan APR
Year APR Score
2006 958
2007 951
2008 947
2009 ???

These numbers have, as mentioned above, been on the decline for a couple years, and as higher-APR scores from years past move out of the 4-year average, and the more recent years (with worse APR scores) go into the equation, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for Michigan. Each player leaving the Michigan program costs the team 1 point out of 1000 in the APR calculation for that year. If a player leaves while he is ineligible for NCAA competition, it reduces overall score by 2 points. It’s unclear exactly when players count towards the next score: I believe those who left before the 2008 season have already been counted, and no others have.

Michigan Attrition
Player When Left Notes
Ryan Mallett Winter 2008 Arkansas transfer
Chris McLaurin Winter 2008 Medical reasons, unclear whether he’s still in school or will count against APR
Corey Zirbel Spring 2008 Career-ending injury, still in school and won’t harm APR
Justin Boren Spring 2008 OSU transfer
Marques Slocum Summer 2008 Likely ineligble
Marcus Witherspoon Summer 2008 Left after 2 weeks at school (does he even count against APR?), academically ineligible
Tony Clemons Winter 2009 Colorado transfer
Zion Babb Winter 2009
Artis Chambers Winter 2009
Avery Horn Winter 2009
Sam McGuffie Winter 2009 Rice transfer
Steven Threet Spring 2009 Arizona State transfer
Kurt Wermers Spring 2009 Ball State transfer, academically ineligible
Dann O’Neill Spring 2009 Western Michigan transfer

That means 8 players have already left the team since the end of the 2008 season. According to history, more may be on the way. With Michigan’s APR trending downwards, it appears as though the 2010 score will be more of the same. Will the Wolverines dip into the danger zone – below 925? They haven’t come close yet, though they’re certainly heading in the wrong direction. But hey, there’s always applying for waivers.

Posted under Coaching, Football, Misc., Personnel
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7 Comments so far

  1. pz says...

    I just tried to play with the math some, and came to the conclusion that it is very unlikely, given the 4-year rolling factor and our relatively high past scores, that we’ll fall below 925 this year (unless massive attrition continues, which it hopefully won’t).

    If this continues, though, we could find ourselves in trouble next year – or more likely, in 2011… hopefully a bit of a reverse in the trend to get us back in the safe zone.

  2. J. Lichty says...

    the ridiculousness of the rule have been discussed in detail at MGoblog, but a couple things really stick out as stoopid.

    1) a situation where a player transfers to another school for football reasons, but remains eligible;

    2) a player who leaves for the NFL.

  3. Ann Arbor 1879 says...

    If we dip below 925 we can just call up Saban. He’ll know what to do.

  4. UofMSnowboarder says...

    Chris McLaurin is in my French class right now, Tim. He’s still here.

  5. Tim says...

    Hmm, now it’s just a question of whether quitting the football team while remaining enrolled still counts against APR.

  6. Bouje says...

    Should that be super positive points if he left the team but was prepared enough to keep going on with school? lol

  7. Jon says...

    Witherspoon was not academically ineligible.

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