Iowa State below NCAA standard, loses scholarships

Iowa State was penalized two basketball scholarships last season for failing to meet NCAA academic performance standards, the university's athletic director told The Des Moines Register.

Under NCAA rules, athletic programs must maintain an annual Academic Progress Rate score of 925 -- representing a 92.5 percent retention and eligibility rate. Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said the men's basketball team had a three-year score of 852, the newspaper reported.

Pollard told the newspaper the men's basketball program, which has not scored above the minimum standard over the past three years, avoided additional penalties by securing a waiver from the NCAA. According to Pollard, the NCAA granted the waiver becuase Iowa State had six players drop out of school or transfer after coach Wayne Morgan was fired in 2006.

"We are confident that with coach [Greg] McDermott's emphasis on and track record in the academic performance of his student-athletes that improvement will be made," Pollard said, the Register reported. "The large exodus from our team has, however, created challenges because our ability to absorb further departures from our men's basketball team could result in not meeting the requirements of the conditional waiver."

The Cyclones were allowed only 11 scholarships last season. Next season, they will be able to offer 13 scholarships but must improve academically or risk additional NCAA sanctions.