As JSU waits out its latest appeal on the matter, its case should become a case study on what the NCAA has fixed and needs to fix.
It's all a matter of simple math, the concept on which the NCAA built the APR … 1+1= 2.
If an athlete completes an academic term in good standing (one point) and returns for the next term (one point), then the school gets the maximum two points.
It seems simple enough, but nothing from the NCAA is ever that simple.
Retention is half of the equation, and attrition has put JSU in this hole.
The NCAA acknowledged that JSU lost several points because of disciplinary actions. Sources have told The Star that dismissing players, some in good academic standing, cost the school as many as 15 points.
Having those points would raise JSU's four-year score from 882 to 897, three points short of what the school needed to avoid the postseason ban for the 2009 season. JSU likely could have made up three points in player transfers. The Gamecocks lost 12 players that way in one summer.
The NCAA patched the transfer hole last year, but three of the four academic years covered in JSU's current APR score fell before the patch.
It might not have been enough to get JSU to the benchmark 925 APR, but it likely would have pushed JSU past the 900 needed by previous offenders to avoid a postseason ban.
The question now is whether the NCAA Division I board of directors will patch over the APR's remaining cracks and give JSU at least a one-year reprieve on the postseason ban.
The board is known as a more big-picture body. This compared to the Committee on Academic Performance, which denied JSU's waiver request in May.
And when the NCAA's big-picture people are done dispensing JSU's case, they need to patch the APR for discipline issues.
The current system puts schools in a potential bind …. dismiss a player with discipline problems or keep that player to bolster the APR's retention number.
JSU has dismissed a handful of players in the past couple of years. Among the more notable cases was former starting quarterback Cedric Johnson, who was arrested on drug and weapons charges two years ago.
Players savvy enough about the APR can use it to fight discipline. They know the school has incentive to keep them on the roster, but for how many offenses?
How many chances must a coach give?
And once a player is dismissed, he's lost his biggest incentive to maintain academic standing. Playing eligibility no longer an issue, he might blow off the rest of an academic term and cost the school another APR point.
Image consciousness drives a lot of NCAA legislation, and the body's top heads should see that the APR can force a conflict. Either keep a player and risk embarrassing headlines for off-field issues or dismiss him and lose APR points … an embarrassment on the academic side.
The smart people who devised the APR — which is hardly unreasonable, based on its goal to produce a 50 percent graduate rate — should come up with another patch to head off the discipline conflict.
Partly because JSU chose discipline, it's staring down the barrel.