Maryland football coach Randy Edsall said in a teleconference Monday that he expects an immediate turnaround in the team’s academic standing. The school announced Saturday that the football team will be stripped of three scholarships for the 2011 season due to a low score on the latest Academic Progress Report, which measures the eligibility and retention of each scholarship student-athlete.
A team’s APR score is based on said team’s showing over the past four years, and 925 (out of 1,000) is the benchmark for potential penalties. Maryland tallied a score of 922 on the latest report, after earning a 929 mark last year. Maryland’s score on the latest report compiled from the time period during which Ralph Friedgen was the team’s head coach. Friedgen was fired in December and replaced by Edsall.
“I’m a guy that thinks we can get it done right away, and that’s what we’re going to shoot for,” Edsall said when asked how quickly he thought Maryland could get back on course in terms of the football team’s academic performance. “That’s my timetable is to get this thing fixed, hopefully get a lot of it fixed by the end of this semester and continue to do that.”
Due to the penalty-mandated reduction, Maryland will be allowed to have 82 players on scholarship next fall.
Edsall re-iterated that the program has a plan in place to revamp the team’s academic environment. Edsall pointed to the appointment of Chris Uchacz, who is the associate athletic director for academic support and career development, as well as the recent hiring of Michael Harris, who will serve as an assistant athletic director for academic support, as measures Maryland has taken to help address the football team’s academic situation. Additionally, Edsall will serve as the football team’s academic liaison.
Every Monday, Edsall said, he will meet with Uchacz, Harris (who will oversee the football team’s academic support) and Jaison Freeman, an assistant director of academic support for the football team, to discuss the academic standing of each player. Edsall said he had a list of players scheduled to meet with him this afternoon to discuss their academic performance.
During the season, Edsall said, the Terrapins will practice on Sundays and have Mondays off so that players can take labs and meet with professors.
“I’m hoping that the situation will clean up sooner than expected, but I do know that we have a process here because we have to change the culture in terms of what we’re trying to get done,” Edsall said.