SPOKANE, Wash. (May 13, 2010 – http://www.gozags.com) – Gonzaga University had eight teams earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards as the NCAA recognized more than 800 Division I sports teams Wednesday for exceptional work in the classroom as part of the NCAA’s Academic Performance Program (APR).

Men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s tennis, men’s outdoor track, women’s rowing and volleyball were Bulldog teams earning NCAA Public Recognition Awards based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates. Gonzaga led all West Coast Conference teams with eight sports honored.

Based on their most recent multiyear Academic Progress Rates, 841 teams earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards, up from 767 teams last year. The awards are given annually to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with their APRs.

Full APR scores for all Division I sports teams, including penalties for low-performing teams, will be released later this spring.

High-performing teams receiving public recognition awards this year posted APR scores ranging from 978 to a perfect 1,000. The number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on how many achieved perfect scores. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years.

"I think it is a tribute to our coaches, student-athletes and support staff that we doubled the number of teams earning Public Recognition Awards over the past year,” Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said. “As I always stress, Gonzaga continues to strive for academic and athletic excellence. These eight teams in particular are to be commended for their exceptional efforts toward achieving those two goals.”

As APR scores improve, the threshold for teams to earn a place in the top 10 percent in their sport continues to rise.

“Most Division I student-athletes and teams take seriously their dual responsibilities in the classroom and on the court or field of play, but every year there is a special category of teams that perform exceptionally well and deserve this noteworthy recognition,” NCAA Interim President Jim Isch said.

Two national champions are included in this year’s list of award winners – Villanova, which won the 2009 Division I Football Championship, and Fairleigh Dickinson, winner of the 2009 National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championship.

The APR provides a real-time view of a team’s academic success by tracking the progress of each student-athlete during the school year. By measuring eligibility and retention each semester or quarter, the APR provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.

An APR score of 925 is the minimum level of academic success; teams scoring below 925 can lose scholarships and face other sanctions over time, including bans on postseason play.

The 841 teams publicly recognized this year for high achievement represent 13.4 percent of the 6,297 eligible Division I teams. The list includes 492 women’s teams and 349 men’s or mixed squads.

A total of 228 of the 331 Division I colleges and universities placed at least one team on the top APR list. Another six of the 50 schools that offer athletics in more than one division placed Division I teams on the list.

For the fourth consecutive year, Yale had the most teams (24) recognized, followed by Dartmouth (22) and Pennsylvania (20). By conference, the Ivy Group had the most number of teams honored (135), followed by the Patriot League (90) and the Big East Conference (70).

In the five years of the NCAA’s academic reform program, 1,747 teams have received Public Recognition Awards, representing 27.7 percent of eligible sports teams during that time. Of that total, 319 teams have received Public Recognition Awards each of the five years of the program.