Rutgers tops in academics -- again

The Rutgers football team was publicly recognized by the NCAA on Thursday for its top academic performance in APR -- the fifth straight year the Scarlet Knights have received such an honor.

The awards are given each year to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in academic progress rates. Only 12 schools on the FBS level were recognized this year. Of those 12, Rutgers is the only school from the Big East.

The academic success has been mixed with on-field success as well. Rutgers is the only school to win four bowl games while earning the academic honor the past five years.

Last year, the Rutgers football team ranked No. 2 among all schools in APR and ranked No. 1 in 2010.

“Our focus every year is to compete in the classroom with the same intensity and commitment that we compete on the field and these three programs continue to excel in both,” athletic director Tim Pernetti said in a statement. “Our department takes pride in the environment of excellence that we’ve created for our student-athletes to earn degrees, become leaders and win championships. This is a well-deserved honor for our coaches, academic advisors and student-athletes.”

The Rutgers gymnastics and women's soccer teams also finished in the top 10 percent in APR in their respective sports and were honored as well.