unlv football:

UNLV football banned from 2014 postseason for low grades

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck listens to a question during a news conference for the Heart of Dallas Bowl Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Heart of Dallas Bowl

UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring walks off the field after failing to convert on fourth down late in the fourth quarter against North Texas during the Heart of Dallas Bowl Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. North Texas won 36-14. Launch slideshow »

The UNLV football team won’t be returning to a bowl game in 2014.

The university announced today a bowl sanction by the NCAA because the program didn’t reach the minimum NCAA Academic Progress Rate score.

The NCAA requires an APR of at least 930 out of 1,000 over the previous four years. UNLV’s score was 925. UNLV appealed the ban to an NCAA subcommittee, but the appeal was denied.

“We as a university accept the subcommittee’s decision and are using this as an opportunity to improve,” UNLV President Donald Snyder said in a statement. “I am confident in the plan that our athletics director and head coach have enacted to address the issue.”

The scores are calculated on a system that factors whether a student-athlete is enrolled and eligible each semester. Eighteen programs were punished for low APR scores last year.

UNLV had a four-year average of 932 last June, but was hindered by an 891 APR in 2011-12, according to data on NCAA.org.

Other sanctions against UNLV football include: replacing four hours of weekly practice with four additional hours of academic activities and limiting football related activities to five days a week instead of six.

Last season, UNLV played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, reaching a bowl game for the first time in 13 seasons and finishing with a 7-6 overall record. The season earned coach Bobby Hauck, who in his three previous seasons had won just two games each year, a contract extension and $700,000 per season salary.

“I am disappointed for the vast majority of our football players who understand the importance of academics and who embrace and meet their responsibilities,” Director of Athletics Tina Kunzer-Murphy said in a statement. “In fact, 96 percent of the football players on our current roster have never cost UNLV an APR point — so clearly, the overwhelming majority of our student-athletes understand that their first priority must be academics.”

UNLV plans to be proactive in addressing the academic shortfalls. A news release details its plan of attack, including:

• The appointment of an APR Committee, chaired by Faculty Athletic Representative Brackley Frayer, that will monitor issues that may affect APR scores. It will recommend strategies, policies and procedures to better monitor, manage and improve APR scores for all of UNLV’s sports programs and ensure APR strategies for improvement are implemented.

• The addition of two new positions — an academic support counselor and a learning specialist — that have direct contact with student-athletes.

• The purchase of academic software and 18 laptop computers.

• Reallocation and remodeling of study-hall space near the football offices.

• Remodeling of additional study-hall space.

• Retaining the services of Forward Progress Athletics Consulting, a nationally recognized company specializing in APR improvement.

Check back later for more on this developing story. UNLV has a 4 p.m. news conference scheduled to discuss the ban.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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