A Close Call For The Tigers

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: May 14, 2009

HOUSTON — The Texas Southern University Tigers knew they were getting a jewel when they hired current athletic director Charles McClelland, and his expertise and proven track record, showed the positive direction that the TSU Athletic Department is headed as it missed a hard hit by the NCAA Compliance Department.

Two years after receiving the most warnings of any Division I school for poor academic performance, Texas Southern University had three sports sanctioned in the Academic Progress Report released last week.

However, they escaped without any severe penalties from the NCAA.

The TSU men’s indoor and outdoor track teams received public notices after failing to meet the minimum requirements outlined by the APR, which measures eligibility and retention of student-athletes. The men’s basketball team was penalized with a reduction in scholarships and practice time.

TSU fell well below the minimum score of .925- the equivalent of a 60 percent graduation rate- in football, baseball, and women’s basketball. The school, however, avoided penalties because the athletic program has shown improvement in APR scores or has a projected graduation rate better than that of the school’s overall student body.

“We’re looking at it as something that’s very serious,” TSU Athletic Director Charles McClelland said. “When I took over the position of athletic director I knew we had some APR issues that we were dealing with and will continue to deal with.”

McClelland went on to say that TSU, which received five warnings in 2007, sent a reworked plan for how to improve APR scores at the historic black college to the NCAA earlier. Changes in admission standards and recruiting philosophy should continue to help raise APR scores.

Across the state other Texas colleges had their share of problems. The University of Houston women’s basketball program lost one scholarship for the second straight year after its APR score of 921 barely missed the cutoff. U of H had three sports rank above the national average-baseball, football, and softball.

Sam Houston State was sanctioned with scholarship losses in three sports-women’s basketball, baseball, and men’s track. Prairie View received a public notice for its men’s basketball program. Rice University had six programs receive public recognition for academic achievement.

Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas was the hardest hit local school, suffering a loss in football scholarships. SFA will be limited to 27 initial scholarships, 82 renewals and 61.65 total athletic scholarships.

They had two programs that received public recognition awards.