Three University of Montana women's athletics programs posted perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores, the NCAA's measure of eligibility and retention of student-athletes. Others sports, including football, saw their scores dip when the 2014-15 academic year numbers were released Wednesday.
Grizzly women's cross country, golf and softball notched perfect scores of 1,000, meaning each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid on those teams remained academically eligible and in school during that year.
The scores are then averaged for the past four years. Averages below 930 over a multi-year period are subject to NCAA sanctions.
Two Montana men's programs also had 1,000 APRs for 2014-15 to boost their four-year averages. The cross country team is up to 966 while the tennis team upped its average to 959 with a perfect academic year.
After reaching 1,000 for its average when APRs were released last spring, the Lady Griz basketball team took a step back in 2014-15. A 964 this past year dropped the women's hoops program to a still-very solid 991.
Among the lowest scorers of 2014-15 were the men's football program and the women's volleyball program. Volleyball plummeted to 918 this past year, dropping its average from 979 to 969, the lowest among Montana's women's sports. That's still well above the danger threshold of 930, which represents only 50 percent of athletes in a program on track to graduate.
Even with the bad year, volleyball remained above the top men's athletic program as the Grizzlies' five men's teams accounted for the five lowest APRs on campus.
Cross country's 966 represented the high score for UM men.
The Montana football team's APR had been steadily climbing since falling below the 930 mark at 929 for 2010-11. A 972 for 2013-14 helped the program reach 938 before last year's 937 dropped it slightly to the average.
The multi-year average of 937 represents the second-worst APR among the Big Sky Conference's 13 football-playing teams ahead of only Weber State's 931 -- as was the case for 2013-14 as well. UC Davis leads the way in that category at 981, followed by Idaho State's 977 and Montana State's 965.
The FCS average for football is 954.
Montana's men's basketball program ranks ninth among the 12 Big Sky schools at 950. Sacramento State leads at 981; Montana State is last at 937.
The University of Idaho men's cross country team is the lone Big Sky program in the danger zone right now. The Vandals' multi-year APR dropped to 926 in 2014-15, its second consecutive year under 930.
Penalties could include restrictions on practice time, scholarships or postseason competition.