The NCAA Academic Progress Rate and Men’s Basketball: An Examination of Coaching Succession

James E. Johnson – Ball State University
Allison K. Manwell – Ball State University
Beau F. Scott – Ball State University


Complex Adaptive Systems theory (Eidelson, 1997) assumes a head coaching change would negatively impact NCAA DI men’s basketball APR scores. All NCAA DI men’s basketball head coaching changes between 2003-04 and 2015-16 (n = 539) were collected using a combination of the NCAA APR database and individual institutional athletic websites. Information regarding internal/external hires, timing of a change, team winning percentages, and nature of the change were also collected. Findings included: 1) APR scores in the year of a coaching change were significantly lower than mean APR scores; 2) the mean APR scores when a negative coaching change occurred (i.e., fired) were significantly lower than when a positive change occurred; 3) APR scores were significantly higher for teams with the highest winning percentages; and 4) the linear combination of predictor variables accounted for approximately 62% of the variance explained by average APR score, type of coaching change, and year of the change.