The song and dance of athletic conference expansion has been flaring for weeks, with reports that the University of Colorado will head to the Pac-10 if it isn’t blocked by the Texas Legislature and that CU could end up in the Mountain West Conference with Colorado State and Air Force if the Texans are successful.
In the midst of all that drama, CU now must deal with the loss of five scholarships for football and one for men’s basketball due to poor athlete academic performance. The Denver Post reports that CU’s score on the Academic Progress Report—a benchmark set by the NCAA that’s measured in four-year blocks—was low enough to get the scholarships pulled immediately.
CU officials say they anticipated the penalty (Boulder’s Daily Camera points out that it reported the news more than a year ago) and absorbed the scholarship decline in the 2009-10 season so that the school would still have a full complement of scholarships to hand out for the coming athletic year.
CU football coach Dan Hawkins hasn’t commented, but the school’s chancellor has issued a statement.
“Naturally, the APR score for football is of great concern to both our academic and athletic leadership,” says Phil DiStefano, adding that he’s confident the trend can be turned around.
The development comes at a precarious time for CU, as the school awaits a desired invitation to the Pac-10. Early on, one of the reasons CU was thought to be a better fit for the conference was higher academic standards. It’s unclear whether the recent announcement will impact a potential invite, but it’s still widely assumed that CU will end up bolting for the Pac-10, as the Colorado Daily points out.