Western Carolina University football was honored by the Football Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Association as a recipient of the Academic Progress Rate Award for the Southern Conference. The Catamounts were among 26 NCAA FCS football programs recognized during the FCS ADA Luncheon on June 10 in conjunction with the 2019 National Assocation of Collegiate Director of Athletics Convention.

Western Carolina and Wofford shared the SoCon’s highest APR scores for 2017-18 year while Mercer was recognized as the program most improved.

“This is an absolutely terrific award and a tremendous honor for our football program. It is truly a team award – and that team includes our outstanding student-athlete academic support services staff and our academic counselors. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without their dedication and continued support,” said head football coach Mark Speir.

He added, “The academic production of our student-athletes and this award are direct results of Randy Eaton’s leadership and Anita Puerto’s, our Academic Enhancement Program Director for football, labor of love for the academic success of our players. I am proud of our players and their drive to be the best they can be both on and off the field. The word ‘Student-Athlete’ is not lip service in the ‘Whee. I would put our graduates up against anybody’s.”

The award recognizes one institution at each of the 13 FCS conferences that has the highest APR score – though two were honored from the Southern Conference this year.

In 2003, the NCAA member colleges and universities adopted a comprehensive academic reform package designed to improve the academic success and graduation of all student-athletes.

The centerpiece of the package is the academic measurement for teams, known as the APR.