The overall state of Kentucky athletics has been improving rapidly, but not just in terms of wins or losses. Academics are dominating the playing field, too.
In a press release sent out by UK earlier on Tuesday, a school-record seven sports teams received Public Recognition Awards for their Academic Progress Rate scores.
The seven squads that were honored – men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s swimming and diving, and volleyball – finished in the top 10 percent of all Divison I programs regarding their APR scores, which calculates academic eligibility, retention, and graduation. The scores cover a four-year period beginning with the 2015-16 season and running through the end of the 2018-19 season.
A new school-record of seven UK teams have won @NCAA Academic Progress Rate awards!
— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) May 12, 2020
“Making progress toward graduation is an essential part of the experience at UK,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “The fact that seven of our teams rank among the best in the nation in their APR scores is a testament to both the work of our student-athletes and the commitment of our coaches and staff. Congratulations to our men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, volleyball and gymnastics teams for earning this recognition.”
The last two years, Kentucky saw six teams receive the honor in back-to-back years. Men’s golf has now won the award for a school-record nine consecutive seasons, while men’s basketball is at six years in a row and women’s basketball up to three. Women’s golf and volleyball have completed four seasons in the top-10, gymnastics has done it twice, and this was the first time winning the award for women’s swimming and diving.
“This marks the third straight year our program has earned this high honor and I want to give the credit to our students and staff that work so hard every day to make sure our program has a culture of academic excellence,” women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell said. “When everyone involved with your program puts such an increased importance on academics it pays off for the students now and for the rest of their lives. Our academic advisor, Tiffany Hayden, is the best at motivating our students academically and making sure they have everything they need to succeed and I cannot thank her enough. This award is a direct reflection of the foundation of our program with a 100 percent graduation rate and 12 straight semesters with a team GPA over 3.0 and I could not be prouder.”
“This is the sixth straight season our program has received this award, something we take tremendous pride in,” said men’s basketball coach John Calipari. “At the end of the day, we are here to put these kids in an opportunity and on a stage to chase their dreams — to prepare them for the next step of their lives. Whether that’s playing basketball professionally or entering the business world or whatever they choose to do, our kids leave here as lifelong learners. That’s a credit to their hard work and the support and guidance of Michael Stone and our CATS staff. They challenge our players in the classroom in all areas.”