The University of Central Arkansas athletics program was recently awarded the prestigious Southland Conference Institutional Academic Performance Award.

This honor is awarded annually to the member institution compiling the highest Academic Progress Rate (APR) average based on a seven-point scale and percentage calculation. UCA captured 71 percent of the maximum accumulated points the institution could receive, based on the number of conference sports in which UCA participates. This award included the four-year APR averages from 2015-16 through 2018-19. UCA is the first public Southland Conference university to win the academic performance award in five years.

“This accomplishment reflects our work over multiple years, so many are deserving of credit,” said UCA President Houston Davis. “It reflects the hard work of our student-athletes and the commitment of our coaches, but it also reflects the commitment of all UCA faculty and staff in our university community. All of this effort and support led us to this accolade. We are proud of our student-athletes and proud to be a part of the Southland Conference family.”

For the 2018-19 academic year, UCA had eight teams post perfect APR scores of 1,000, and had a 987 average score for all 18 programs. For the four-year period of 2015-16 through 2018-19, UCA averaged 986 with four programs recording perfect scores.

“We are proud of our student-athletes for their commitment to all collegiate endeavors,” said UCA Director of Athletics Brad Teague. “Their work in the classroom and their love for the University of Central Arkansas is evident in these great APR scores. We certainly appreciate our coaches for continuing to bring great young women and men to our institution and for our support staffs’ intensive efforts to ensure success.”

UCA’s more than 400 student-athletes are perennially at or near the top of the academic rankings in the Southland. In the spring of 2020, despite pandemic distance learning, UCA’s student-athletes recorded their 15th consecutive semester with a cumulative 3.0 or better grade-point average, posting an overall 3.21 across all 18 programs.

UCA consistently has approximately two-thirds of its student-athletes named to the bi-annual SLC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll with GPAs of 3.0 or higher. The university had 241 student-athletes named to the academic honor roll in the spring and fall of 2019, with 50 of those earning 4.0 GPAs for the respective semester.

Founded in 1963, the Southland Conference is a dynamic and respected consortium of 13 member universities in three states – the University of Central Arkansas; Lamar University; McNeese State University; Nicholls State University; Northwestern State University; Sam Houston State University; Southeastern Louisiana University; Stephen F. Austin State University; Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Abilene Christian University; Houston Baptist University; the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio; and the University of New Orleans.

The Southland sponsors 17 championship sports, all at the NCAA Division I level, and encompasses nearly 140,000 current students and an alumni base of 800,000. For more information, visit Southland.org.

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