Binghamton's perfect APR score pays off

Basketball programs struggling to wrap their heads around the NCAA's new emphasis on Academic Progress Rate standards now have a model they can follow, and would you believe that it's Binghamton?

The Binghamton men's basketball program that has been troubled in years past announced Monday that it achieved its first perfect APR score of 1,000, boosting the Bearcats' four-year average to a level where it can regain its full scholarship allotment of 13.

Under coach Mark Macon, the team has gotten serious about academics and will now have all its scholarships available after self-imposing a two-scholarship reduction last year. The mass exodus of players had caused bad headlines and the APR score to dip, but now the program averages an acceptable score of 900, which is right on the NCAA cutline.

From the Press & Sun-Bulletin:

The men's program had been down to 11 scholarships following the turmoil prior to the 2009-10 season, which included six players being dismissed from the team and two others transferring at season's end.

"To get your scholarships back is good, but the overall thing is that the guys have met the expectations academically," BU head coach Mark Macon said.

Macon also confirmed one of the reinstated scholarships has been awarded to junior point guard Jimmy Gray, a former Binghamton High School standout.

Binghamton isn't out of the woods yet since the NCAA will look to increase the APR threshold to 930 in the coming years for teams to qualify in the postseason, but considering the program was in deep trouble not long ago, regaining the scholarships and reestablishing graduation rates is a credit to Macon. The former Temple star inherited a mess, and now little by little it's being cleaned up.

Any program struggling with academic concerns should take notice and know it's not an impossible situation.