OSU football is out of the NCAA academic hoosegow, and that’s very good news for the Cowboys. OSU’s Academic Progress Rate was amended, and the program no longer faces APR sanctions for the 2014 season. The NCAA had restricted OSU to 18 hours of football activity per week, two less than the maximum, and the loss of a day’s use. The NCAA limits teams to six days of activity per week during the school year, but OSU football was relegated to five via the penalty.
The rule is good for OSU’s reputation. Only three other Division I-A schools — Nevada, Idaho and New Mexico State — were on APR football probation. That’s not a great list of schools. If you’re on a list with New Mexico State and Idaho, you need to get off it as quickly as possible, and OSU has.
Coming on the heels of the Sports Illustrated report last September, the academic probation was unsettling. The SI report was full of holes, and the academic allegations seemed shaky. But then came the APR announcement in the spring, and you wondered if there was fire with the smoke.
The NCAA’s announcement Tuesday alleviates much of that pressure. Turns out, OSU was unaware of the recent graduate of a player from the 1990s, which was enough of a boost to get State over the penalty threshold.
Of course, OSU needs to work to make sure it’s not living on the edge, to where somebody who hasn’t played in 20 years can affect how much Desmond Roland can practice in 2014.
But it’s also instructive and an incentive for OSU and all schools to remain in contact with past players. It’s important to graduate, whether you’re a 2014 senior or were a player in 1995. You’re never too old to get your degree, and this experience should serve a lesson to get as many players as possible graduated, even if it takes two decades.
Mike Gundy put a good face on the effects of the restrictions, saying the loss of two hours wouldn’t be catastrophic. But clearly, having the full allotment of practice time and film time will be good for a young OSU team.