The Cougar volleyball program has scored a victory off the court with the NCAA rescinding its APR penalties, the athletic department announced on Tuesday.
WSU was set to lose four hours of practice time per week if the NCAA upheld the penalties, which were triggered by posting a four-year rolling average of 929, just one point below the minimum threshold. Now the program will be able to practice the full 20-hour allotment.
"This is great news for our program, which continues to improve in all facets," said WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny in the athletic department's announcement. "We were able to show the tremendous academic improvement this program has made in the past three years, and continues to make, and obviously the NCAA agreed."
The fact that the team has the full practice time per week is huge, as the program looks to return to the NCAA tournament. Now Greeny and her staff will have more time to work with the core of young players that make up the squad's roster. This should help their performance on the court become more consistent, something the team struggled with last fall.
Under Greeny the program has experienced tremendous academic growth according to APR. Greeny's first year (2011-12) saw the Cougs earn a score of 939 and in her second year (2012-13) the program recorded a perfect score of 1,000. Washington State is also expected to earn a perfect score of 1,000 for the 2013-14 academic year as well -- those numbers will be released sometime in May 2015.
While a WSU spokesperson said the NCAA does not reveal exactly why the waiver was granted, John Infante - a former compliance officer who now works for athleticscholarships.net - said in an email interview that it likely was a combination of being so close to the threshold for penalties, the recent superb academic performance (detailed here) under the new coach, and one really awful outlier year under the previous staff dragging the average down.
You can read all about the NCAA's conditions for granting a waiver here in Appendix M, Page 4.