Oklahoma State's win in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl was the cherry on top of the greatest football season in school history.
The Cowboys won the Big 12 championship for the first time and were fractions of a percentage point from playing for the national title.
Those accomplishments make Wednesday's release of the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate, which tracks classroom achievements of every Division I athletic program, all the more sobering.
OSU's football team was one of 42 — and one of seven in the Football Bowl Subdivision — with four-year APR scores below 930, which in two years will be the lowest a program can go before being banned from postseason competition.
The Cowboy football team's four-year APR two years ago was 945, dropped to 942 last year and stands at 928 for 2010-11.
Tulsa was another FBS school with an APR below 930.
The NCAA calculates the rate as a rolling, four-year figure. The OSU football team's APR score for the 2010-11 term alone was 903.
OSU associate athletic director Kevin Fite, who leads the school's athletic compliance office, released a statement explaining the score.
“Over the last two years, football has had student-athletes that have chosen to transfer, or pursue professional football careers, despite remaining eligibility,” Fite said. “Those factors have contributed to a loss of APR retention points. Nevertheless, we are well above the minimal scores at this point and have implemented strategies that will improve our rolling four-year score.”
The average APR score for all Division I football programs is 948.
A 930 APR score, according to the NCAA, predicts a roughly 50 percent Graduation Success Rate.
That new APR floor for postseason participation — voted on last August by the NCAA board of directors — will be effective beginning with the 2014-15 postseason. The policy will be phased in over the next two years.