Las Cruces, N.M. -- The New Mexico State softball team and women's golf team were honored by the NCAA along with more than 950 other Division I teams for their achievement in the classroom with the Public Recognition Awards announced Wednesday morning. This is the second year in a row that the women's golf team received the honor and the first for the softball program.
"We have always tried to have a perfect score," head women's golf coach Paul Brilliant said. "We are just keeping the same tradition. Our philosophy is that they are student-athletes. I have told my players that they have little chance of getting on the professional tour without a degree, but with a college degree, the chances raise by 100%."
"For our team it comes down to the type of players we recruit and letting those student-athletes know what our expectations are both on the field and in the class room," head softball coach Kathy Rodolph said. "We try to get to know our players that we recruit and hopefully find that great match between athletics and academics so that we don't have a high turnaround. I'm extremely proud of our team for this accomplishment."
The 954 teams publicly recognized this year for high achievement represent 560 women's teams and 394 men's or mixed squads. Top performing APRs this year ranged from 978 to a perfect 1,000, with the majority of teams earning a perfect APR. The number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on the number of perfect scores.
A total of 263 schools, out of 347 Division I colleges and universities, placed at least one team on the top APR list. Additionally, 8 schools that offer athletics in more than one division, out of 49 overall within the NCAA, placed Division I teams on the list. Dartmouth College had the most teams (23) recognized, followed by Brown University (20) and Harvard University (18).
In seven years of the NCAA's academic reform program, 2,946 different teams have received Public Recognition Awards, representing 46 percent of eligible teams during that time. Of that total, 209 teams have received Public Recognition Awards each of the seven years of the program.