The University of Central Florida is the top bowl-bound football team in the state for academic performance, according to a report released today from UCF’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).

UCF’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 981 topped the University of Florida – UCF’s opponent in the Gasparilla Bowl – and the University of Miami. UF and Miami earned APRs of 974 and 973, respectively.

UCF has the second-best APR of the seven American Athletic Conference teams playing in a bowl game this year, trailing only the University of Cincinnati. Of all the 86 bowl-bound teams, UCF ranks No. 16 — tied with Boise State — for overall APR.

Implemented in 2003 by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, APR is calculated based on the retention and academic standing of scholarship-sponsored college-athletes.

The Gasparilla Bowl is one of 13 bowl games featuring two teams with APRs of at least 970.

“The academic success of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) student-athletes has improved this year,” says Richard Lapchick, author of the study and director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The study also demonstrated that the gap between the academic success of white and Black football student-athletes narrowed since last year. However, “it continues to be a major issue.” Lapchick says.

The UCF-based Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport examines gender and race in amateur, collegiate and professional sports and the media, as well as critical issues and hiring practices within the field and academic success for college athletes. The institute is based in UCF’s College of Business and is part of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program.