Gary Andersen cited the University of Wisconsin’s stringent academic standards as the reason for his departure to become head coach at Oregon State. This both shocked Badger fans and left people in Corvallis muttering “Did you really have to say that?” As it turns out, UW’s academic standards are in fact quite stringent. This is a good thing.

Yesterday the NCAA released their annual Academic Progress Report and Wisconsin (998) scored highest of all 128 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I). The APR measures how students who receive athletic scholarships are doing in school. The score measures if students receiving athletic scholarships are staying in school and staying academically eligible (you can read how it’s calculated in the above-linked article).

This should be a source of pride of UW and Badger fans everywhere. Part of the fun of cheering for a college team is rooting for students who are representing the university, as antiquated a sentiment as this may be. Furthermore, while winning football games is an important goal, so is operating a program in a manner that does not cause fans to experience cognitive dissonance.

Hopefully new head coach Paul Chryst will ensure the Wisconsin tradition of academic excellence continues.

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