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Colorado’s athletic department continues to score well with its Academic Progress Rate (APR), and the football program set a team record with its latest score.

The NCAA released its annual report on Wednesday, with CU recording a score of 984 — out of a possible 1,000 — for the four-year period of 2013-14 to 2016-17.

CU’s score took a slight dip from its record of 986 set a year ago, but matched the second-best score by the department since the Academic Performance Program was introduced in 2003. CU had posted a school-record score in each of the previous six years.

The football program recorded a four-year average of 970, the highest in team history. Just nine years ago, in 2008-09, the Buffs had a score of 920, which led to a six-scholarship penalty. Since then, CU’s scores in football have increased all but one year. CU’s previous best score was 968 in 2014-15, and then again in 2015-16.

Of CU’s 15 sports programs, 11 exceeded the multi-year national average for their sport, and another equaled the national average. The football team’s score of 970 is two points above the national average, while the men’s basketball score of 970 is three points above the average.

The women’s golf team recorded a perfect four-year score of 1,000 for the second year in a row, earning the NCAA’s APR Recognition Award.

A school record 10 CU teams scored a perfect 1,000 for the 2016-17 academic year, including seven of the nine women’s teams.

“The reason we continue to excel in this area is because of the hard work and dedication of many people, with our 350-plus student-athletes at the top of that list,” athletic director Rick George said in a press release from the school. “Our coaches and academic staff members wholly support our mission laid out in our strategic plan, and that’s creating the right kind of culture and atmosphere for them to succeed.”

The only CU team that saw a significant decrease in APR score was the men’s golf team, which recorded a score of 886 for the 2016-17 school year (down from 1,000 the previous year) and 959 for the latest four-year period (971 in the previous period). Two mid-year transfers in 2017 impacted those scores.

Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, the NCAA will distribute a portion of Division I revenue to schools who meet at least one requirement: an overall APR score of 985 or better; an overall all-sport graduation rate of 90 percent or better; or a federal graduation rate that is 13 percent higher than the federal graduation rate of the entire student body at the school.

According to the NCAA, “75 percent of the annual increase in the broadcast rights contract will be used to create an academic distribution unit.” That money would be distributed to the conferences “with no restriction on how it is spent.”

When the NCAA announced the academic distribution in October 2016, it gave a projection of roughly $55,000 per qualifying school in the first year (based on 228 qualifying schools). That amount is projected to increase to more than $500,000 per school within the first decade of the program.

CU chancellor Phil DiStefano co-chaired the group that developed the academic distribution unit.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or

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