Cougar Corner | Washington State Football Earns Passing Grade from NCAA

Lew WrightSenior Writer IMay 9, 2009

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13:  A Washington State Cougars helmet showing the initials of Pat Tillman next to the American flag during the Arizona State Sun Devils against Washington State Cougars Pac-10 game at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field on November 13, 2004 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)


When Coach Paul Wulff took over the Washington State Cougar football program, he had a number of issues to contend with.

Coach Wulff began his tenure at WSU by making it clear that changing the culture of Cougar football was key to turning around a program that was in a tailspin.

The Cougs were ineffective both on and off the field.

From all appearances during spring practice, WSU will be much more effective on the gridiron this coming season.

That's speculation.

When it comes to Coach Wulff's student/athletes performing in the classroom, progress is being made.

That's fact.

The NCAA has released their annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) for 2008.

Coach Wulff took over a team that earned an APR of 916, well below the minimum standard set by the NCAA at 925.

WSU moved up to 918 and is on pace to exceed the minimum standard in the coming year. May not sound like much progress, but when taking into account the number of student/athletes associated with Cougar football there is good reason to compliment the improvement.

Here's a look at how all Pac-10 schools grade out on APR:

Pac-10 NCAA Academic Progress Rate
Arizona State945933
Oregon State930926
Washington State918916









The formula used to generate APR is a bit contrived. In the eyes of the NCAA, "The APR provides a real-time 'snapshot' of a team’s academic success each semester by looking at current academic progress of every student-athlete."

Basically, a perfect score would be 1000, indicating that 100% of student/athletes in a program are on track to graduate. If a program has an APR below 925, they are assessed a penalty by the NCAA. Fall below 900, and the penalties will be dramatic.

Last year Coach Wulff was faced with a penalty assessment by the NCAA because Cougar football dropped from 930 in 2006 to 916 in 2007. WSU lost 8 scholarships for football student/athletes.

It may be much more fun to read about how successful Coach Wulff and his staff have been at high school recruiting. Talk of how much stronger and athletic the football team looked during spring practice should build anticipation for this coming season.

When all is said and done, Washington State is all about educating students. Clearly student/athletes on the Cougar football team are improving right along with every other aspect of the program.

No question that Coach Wulff is making positive changes in the culture of Cougar football.


For up-to-the-moment, real-time news about Cougar athletics, follow Lew Wright on cougarlew



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