An Oklahoma State insider told of how Mike Gundy had finally wrapped his head — and arms — around the importance of APR (Academic Progress Rate) to his program.
And the proof is in OSU’s improved numbers over the past two recorded years.
The rally, however, came up just a bit shy, resulting in an NCAA-imposed penalty loss of practice time and an available day to practice for Gundy and his staff.
And it leads to a fall in which Cowboys coaches will be forced to adjust to practice limitations at a time when the roster will roll over to younger talent in need of added instruction.
How much is a bit shy? The slimmest of margins shy.
The APR is a metric based on two factors for each scholarship athlete per term: eligibility (1 point) and retention (1 point). So athletes can earn as many as four points for their program in any given year.
OSU needed but one more point, in either category of eligibility or retention, over the four-year span of 2009-10 to 2012-13 to remain on the positive side of the APR.
Or one more player among hundreds making his grades. Or one more player among hundreds remaining on the team.
Of course, they didn’t get that point. And while the NCAA went light on the Cowboys based on consecutive years of improved APR scores, imposing a two-hour practice reduction instead of the standard four-hour penalty, Gundy and Co. still must adjust.
*Coaches are slaves to routine, hating to budge one bit for fear that it will throw a team’s complete mojo off track. And routine is a Gundy ball-and-chain. OSU’s routine must change.
*Two hours of practice doesn’t sound like much. And Gundy said that his teams have tended to utilize just 19 of their allotted 20 hours anyway in recent seasons. But this goes beyond the hours. The NCAA mandates that teams give their players a full day off. Now the Cowboys must give two days off. And that means from anything associated with athletic activity, including weight lifting, film study, position meetings … everything. That’s significant.