Alabama football: Saban favors NCAA’s APR proposal

Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban favors changes to NCAA legislation that encourages schools to graduate players. The Alabama football coach addressed the new NCAA proposal at his Thursday press conference.

“We take that responsibility here, so it will be no change for us,” Saban said. Saban also said anything that encourages schools to take responsibility to graduate players is a good thing for college football.

The change Saban was asked about comes from an NCAA move to improve academic performance. The NCAA’s Division 1 Board of Directors approved a move to tie academic performance with eligibility for the post-season. According to the NCAA, “The board voted to raise the Academic Progress Rate benchmark from 900 to 930 and supported a penalty structure that will require teams to earn at least a 930 four-year, rolling APR in order to participate in postseason competition.” Also according to the NCAA, “The 930 APR predicts an approximately 50 percent Graduation Success Rate.”

“This is about the academic performance of all of our students in all of our sports,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “This is about the academic expectations we have for all of our student-athletes.”

Saban said Alabama’s APR has averaged 963 over the last four years. (See story on Alabama’s APR here.)

“I think it is everybody’s responsibility to go to school and get an education,” Saban said. “That is part of our program here.”

The emphasis on education is important because of the limited opportunities to play professional football.

“There are some really, really compelling statistics about all guys wanting to play in the NFL, there is something like 74 percent of the players who make a team do not even play more than three years,” Saban said. “So, there are not very many guys who make a living playing ball.”

Saban said all players need to do their best to get an education. This applies to future NFL stars and those who will not make it into professional football.

“For 98 percent of the guys in this program they definitely need to get an education. I think they all need an education even if they play for 12 years and get into the hall of fame, they have to do something some other time in their life and the only way you can affect that is getting an education,” the Alabama football coach said.