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With academic progress rate up, NCAA lifts postseason ban on Vandals

An NCAA ban on postseason play for the University of Idaho football team has been lifted.

The NCAA decision to lift the ban is because of the Vandals’ academic progress since Paul Petrino took over as head coach in December 2012. Additionally, a reduction in practice time will be lifted providing Idaho’s APR and single-year eligibility rates for 2014-15 are 940 or above, according to an athletic department press release.

“It was a group effort,” Petrino is quoted in the release.

His teams have posted grade-point averages of 2.55 or better in his four semesters as coach. “Everybody worked really hard.”

The program was penalized by the NCAA after its APR dipped below minimum standards in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The press release noted the athletic department made substantive changes, which have provided positive results both in academic progress and retention.

The team’s APR numbers have been in the 950s and are projected to be in the 960s this year, according to the release.

In addition to a ban on playing in a bowl game, the Vandals also competed throughout 2014 with four fewer hours of practice per week.

“We never make excuses,” Petrino said, “but that hurt. That’s big.”

Petrino credited not only the academic support staff, led by Sue Steele, and athletic director Rob Spear, but the diligence of his players and assistant coaches.’’

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