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Vandals lose six scholarships

Departures from 2008-09 season lead to low APR

By Josh Wright Correspondent

MOSCOW, Idaho – Once again, the NCAA has slapped the Idaho football team with a loss of scholarships because of the poor academic performance of its players.

The Vandals on Wednesday were docked six scholarships for the 2010 season – the worst penalty among FBS schools – when it was revealed their Academic Progress Rate was less than the minimum of 925.

The football program registered an APR of 908, a number that reflects its performance from 2005-06 to 2008-09. The deduction in scholarships comes after six academically ineligible players left during the 2008-09 year, the worst possible outcome under NCAA guidelines.

“As much as I hate to lose any scholarships, we cannot let a rule I struggle with hold us hostage and keep us from running a strong program,” head football coach Rob Akey said in an Idaho release. “Our APR will continue to improve. I believe we are doing a good job of managing it.”

Two years ago, the Vandals operated with 76 scholarships – nine less than the maximum of 85 – after Akey had booted nearly 20 players from the team following his arrival prior to the 2007 season.

While announcing his ’08 recruiting class, the coach was critical of the system the NCAA set up because UI was being punished for trying to clean up the program.

“This is not what this rule, I don’t think, was intended to do,” Akey said then.

On Wednesday, Akey said he was more concerned with his current players than the ones who have left because they “don’t have the character or commitment to stay with the program.”

In the release, he also noted 26 of 30 players from the last two classes have graduated.

“We’ll continue to work on our APR, but the bottom line is graduation,” UI athletic director Rob Spear said in the release.

The NCAA reduced the Vandals’ initial scholarships for the 2010 class by three to 22. UI signed 25 players in February, but some of those could possibly wait to enroll until the spring semester and be classified as grayshirts.

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