The Ohio State men's basketball team’s Academic Progress Report multi-year rate dropped for a fourth straight year, but the Buckeyes remained above the NCAA threshold to participate in the postseason and are poised to improve their ranking.

In data released today for the 2016-17 academic year, Ohio State scored a 922, which dropped its four-year rolling average to 936. That number was a program-best 977 following the 2012-13 season, but since then had declined to 975 in 2013-14, 967 in 2014-15 and 950 in 2015-16 before these latest figures.

Teams must maintain a four-year average above 930 in order to remain eligible for postseason play. According to professor John Davidson, Ohio State’s faculty athletic representative, there is more good news on the way. The men’s basketball team is coming off what he termed “the best academic year in recent memory,” with nine members of the team earning scholar-athlete recognition this past season, and coach Chris Holtmann has helped make academics a priority.

“The current group has really understood and taken to heart that both sides of the “student-athlete” designation are equally important, and the leadership within the team has embraced the challenge of maintaining that mindset,” Davidson told The Dispatch in an email. “The second welcome aspect is the attitude toward academics of Coach Holtmann and his staff, who, in concert with OSU Compliance staff and academic counselors, have implemented a strategic response to the APR situation. Every potential recruit or transfer is weighed first and foremost by his ability to succeed, and succeed well, at this demanding institution, and by his ability to live up to the expectations of academic and athletic achievement that are required here.”

According to CBSSports’ Matt Norlander, two other teams from Major 7 conferences were closer to the cutoff than Ohio State: Missouri (932) and Memphis (934).

The APR, which was instituted for the 2004-05 school year, penalizes teams for players who depart before exhausting their eligibility or stay on the team but become academically ineligible. Ohio State lost its entire five-man recruiting class from 2015 and had four of the players leave that year, which made an obvious impact.

Teams receive a maximum of two points per member of the roster: one for the player remaining with the program and one for meeting eligibility standards at the end of each semester.

“The smaller the squad, the more impact the loss of either of those points has, and over the four years in the current cohort there have been instances when both points have been lost,” Davidson said. “Because the APR is a four-year rolling average, the relation between the year that rolls off and the year that rolls onto the calculation can make a huge difference. If a good year is removed from the four-year group and a poor result (like the 2015 number) is added, it magnifies the impact — and a small squad takes a good while to recover from that.

“That is essentially the perfect storm of factors that OSU’s Men’s Basketball has faced of late, and to be this close to falling out of acceptable APR boundaries is a serious situation.”

Going forward, the recent graduations of Kam Williams, Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate all will help Ohio State’s future ratings, as will the lack of transfers this past year.