UT Martin’s men’s basketball team will face practice restrictions in the coming season as the result of Academic Progress Rate (APR) penalties. The team will only be allowed to practice a maximum of five days, and 16 hours a week.
Non-penalized teams can practice six days, up to 20 hours.
The Skyhawks APR for the 2012-13 season, the last season calculated in the most recent multi-year average, was 942, but was not high enough to raise the program’s four-year average, which fell to 920. Beginning this year, the NCAA requires schools to have a 930 four-year average to avoid punishment, or a 940 two-year average. UT Martin’s two year average was 925.
While the practice punishments will have an impact, UTM avoided facing a postseason ban. No other Ohio Valley Conference programs face any APR punishments.
The good news is that the worst score over the past four years, an 857 APR, falls off next season. The Skyhawks will need just a 927 from the 2013-14 school year to raise their four year average above the 930 threshold. While APR numbers from this school year won’t be made publicaly available until next May, the school would be able to calculate themselves this summer.
Losing practice hours is far from a death penalty for the program. Two seasons ago, Jacksonville State faced similar restrictions in addition to a postseason ban, but finished 8-8 in the conference, on their way to a 17-11 season. Had they been postseason eligible, they would have been the fifth seed in the OVC Tournament.
New UTM head coach Heath Schroyer will have a slightly harder hill to climb to bring the Skyhawks back to relevancy: UT Martin hasn’t had a winning season since winning the OVC in 2008-09.