UCLA tied for the sixth-lowest Academic Progress Rate among the 68 teams in the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament, 14 spots lower than last season, according to a report.

Cal State Fullerton, the other Los Angeles-area team in the field, had the second-lowest rate, according to “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates and Academic Progress Rates for the 2018 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament Teams,” a study conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, based on figures reported by the NCAA on Monday.

UCLA’s rate was 950, matching Ohio State’s, tying for 62nd, two points behind North Carolina Central. The Bruins rate last season was 962, tying for 48th.

The rate is a four-year average of academic performance that rewards student-athletes for remaining eligible as well as continuing education at the same school.

Every player receiving an athletic scholarship earns one retention point for staying in school and one eligibility point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to determine the Academic Progress Rate.

The rates in the report released Monday are four-year averages covering the 2012-13 through 2015-16 academic years.

UCLA’s average includes a year when two players left school in the middle of a quarter “so we consider the data that involves that particular circumstance to be an anomaly,” Shana Wilson, UCLA’s senior associate athletic director, communications, told City News Service.

“The data, being several years old, is also not reflective of the current team,” Wilson said.

Five scholarship players on the current team were members of the 2015- 16 team, the most recent one included in the average.

Cal State Fullerton’s rate was 937, 67th overall, ahead of only Missouri, whose rate was 934. The Titans were nine points behind Texas Tech and UMBC, who tied for 65th at 946.

“We’re always working to improve our APR scores, just like we’re always trying to improve our performance in anything we do inside Titan Athletics,” according to a statement from the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Department.

The Titans rate is the second-highest among the seven most recent rates, behind only the previous year’s, 962. Cal State Fullerton suffered a scholarship reduction when its rate for the 2009-10 academic year was 909 and were required to reduce practice time — so players could have more time to study — when its 2012-13 rate was 915.

Nine teams had perfect scores of 1,000 — Bucknell, Clemson, Kentucky, Davidson, Michigan State, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia. Gonzaga and Michigan were next at 995

The Academic Progress Rate was implemented by the NCAA in 2003 in an effort to hold institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes. The system includes rewards for superior academic performance and penalties for teams that do not achieve certain academic benchmarks, including reductions in practice time and scholarships and a ban from the NCAA tournament.

—City News Service

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