UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Four Penn State teams have earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award for posting elite scores in this year's Academic Progress Rate (APR) compilation, including the Nittany Lions' most recent NCAA championship squad.
The four teams — women's cross country, women's fencing, men's golf, and wrestling — earned multiyear APR scores in the top 10 percent nationally for their respective sport through the 2017-18 academic year (data from 2014-15 through 2017-18).
The wrestling squad earned its fifth consecutive and ninth overall NCAA Public Recognition Award. The women's cross country team garnered its first NCAA recognition since 2016 and its eighth overall. Women's fencing and men's golf both earned their second consecutive NCAA Public Recognition Awards.
The Nittany Lion wrestlers have captured four consecutive NCAA championships and eight of the past nine national titles.
The NCAA has recognized a total of 81 Penn State teams with a Public Recognition Award since the program's inception in 2006. The Nittany Lions have had at least three squads earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards in all 14 years of the program.
"I am thrilled our women's cross country program is being recognized for their academic excellence," said John Gondak, head coach of the men's and women's cross country/track and field programs. "Penn State has made a commitment to our student-athletes to garner success in their academic and athletic endeavors and our women's cross country program has made the most of that commitment. The squad has finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships the last four years and recently earned Penn State's highest team GPA award. I am proud of what our program has accomplished and we look forward to maintaining and building on their successes."
Wrestlers among nine teams to win NCAA title and Public Recognition Award for 2017-18
The Penn State wrestling team is among only nine squads nationally that won an NCAA Division I Championship in 2017-18 and also earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award for the 2017-18 academic year. The other teams include: Villanova men's basketball, Notre Dame women's basketball, Oklahoma State men's golf and UCLA women's sand volleyball.
The Nittany Lion wrestlers have earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award in each of the past five years, an achievement matched nationally only by Stanford's wrestling team.
Women's tennis leads with 12 Public Recognition Awards in 14 years
The women's tennis team leads all Nittany Lion squads with 12 NCAA Public Recognition Awards over the 14 years of the program. The field hockey and wrestling teams have received nine NCAA Public Recognition Awards, the women's cross country program has been recognized eight times, and the women's golf team has been honored six times.
Penn State teams with most NCAA Public Recognition Awards
Women's Tennis — 12
Field Hockey and Wrestling — 9
Women's Cross Country — 8
Women's Golf — 6
The aggregate 2017-18 Academic Progress Rate data for all NCAA Division I institutions will be announced later this month.
The NCAA's APR is designed to track the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship at a particular institution. It accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation each term to provide a clear measure of each team's academic performance.
Penn State Among the Nation's Most Comprehensive and Successful Athletic Programs
Under the leadership of Sandy Barbour, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics, Penn State has one of the nation's most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, featuring 800 student-athletes across 31 varsity programs (16 men's, 15 women's). Nittany Lion students, who have captured 40 Big Ten championships and a conference-best nine NCAA titles since the 2013 fall semester, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees.
Nittany Lion students have posted an NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent the past two years, which ties Penn State' all-time high. Eight teams earned a 100 percent graduation rate in the 2018 NCAA Graduation Rates Report. The Nittany Lions rank No. 4 among all Division I schools with 204 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, including Kerry Abello and Emily Ogle (women's soccer) and Blake Gillikin (football) during the fall semester.
Penn State's 51 NCAA championships all-time (79 national championships overall) rank No. 5 among all NCAA Division I programs and are the highest total of any college or university east of the Mississippi River. Penn State's 32 NCAA titles since 1992-93, including a fourth consecutive NCAA Wrestling Championship in March, lead all Big Ten Conference institutions. The Nittany Lions have won 112 Big Ten championships or tournament titles since capturing their first crown in 1992-93, with men's lacrosse the most recent on April 20.
Penn State was No. 3 in the 2019 final Winter Learfield IMG College Directors' Cup standings, earning its 14th consecutive top-five Winter Directors' Cup finish.