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Oregon football team’s academic performance drops again: Time for alarm in Eugene? (Probably not)

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The NCAA’s academic progress report was released Tuesday, with largely predictable results across the Pac-12 footprint.

Stanford produced a perfect multi-year score of 1000 in men’s basketball, as did USC.

The Cardinal also led the way in football with a 986, followed closely by Utah (984) and Washington (982).

In fact, only two of the conference’s 24 teams in the two major revenue-producing sports reported Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores that suggest cause for concern.

Both are located along Route 99 in Central Oregon.

Oregon State’s basketball team reported a score of 935, while Oregon’s football team checked in with 941 — down from 950 last year and 960 two springs ago.

Both seemingly are on hazardous ground. If the APR score reported next spring for either team drops below 930, the NCAA could respond with the most effective cudgel in its bag: a postseason ban for the 2025-26 academic year.

That might not seem like an immediate threat for OSU basketball, which appears light years away from an NCAA Tournament bid. But a postseason ban for the Oregon football program would be major news.

What’s the threat level for the Ducks?

The APR is considered the best judge of academic performance in college sports — better than graduation rates, for instance — by offering a close-to-real-time means of holding head coaches and administrators accountable.

It measures eligibility and retention: Athletes must remain in school and in good standing for each academic term in order to receive the maximum point value for the full year. The number of points earned is divided by the total points possible, then multiplied by 1,000 to determine a score.

Undergraduate transfers and early-entry draft prospects (in the NFL and NBA) put teams at risk.

Each team receives a single-year APR score, which is grouped with results from the three prior years to form a multi-year score. That multi-year score determines postseason eligibility.

Results are reported on a one-year delay, so Oregon’s multi-year score in 2024 reflects the single-year scores from 2019 and 2021-23. (APR scores were not calculated for 2020 because of the pandemic.)

The 941 score released this week was the second-lowest among all schools in the Power Five conferences — only LSU performed worse (934) — and reflects significant roster attrition in the final years under former coach Mario Cristobal, who left for Miami after the 2022 regular season.

Here are Oregon’s single-year scores for the past eight years, with those contributing to the multi-year score of 941 in bold:

2015: 967
2016: 976
2017: 958
2018: 970
2019: 963
2021: 939
2022: 934
2023: 927

If the multi-year score released next spring drops below 930, the Ducks would be ineligible for the College Football Playoff or bowl games following the 2025 regular season, unless the NCAA grants a waiver.

Important point: Because each multi-year score is based on the average of the four most-recent single-year scores, the  963 reported for 2019 will be removed from the calculation next spring and replaced by whatever single-year score the Ducks generate in this academic year.

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