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Stanford football tops conference in APR

Typical David Shaw. Drop him a line to say congrats on leading the Pac-12 in the latest academic progress rate scores and you get this response:

"That's great, but we weren't No. 1 in the country," he said.

True. That honor was a split between Northwestern and Davidson. Yale, Brown, Penn and a few others were also ahead of the Cardinal, who had a 977 multi-year rating that ended with the 2010-11 academic year.

The APR isn't a judge of school's academics, but rather a measuring stick to see how well all schools and programs are retaining their athletes and moving them toward graduation over a four-year period. So it's not really a competition. But Shaw doesn't care.

"We strive to be No. 1," he said. "That's where we are. We want to be the best of both worlds on and off the field."

But more than anything, it's another weapon in Shaw's arsenal that he and his staff can use on the recruiting trail -- telling potential recruits Stanford is tops in the conference in APR.

"It's huge," he said. "That's putting our money where our mouth is. Us being able to put this on paper and send a link to the NCAA website, which posts where we are for APR and graduation rate. It shows a lot about how well our athletics and academics are structured. This is a united front and we're going to make sure people get the best education. They'll know the academic resources are there for them and they can also have the best experience they can on the field."