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MISSOULA — For the sixth consecutive year, Montana has earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards for programs ranking in the top 10 percent in their sport for Academic Progress Rate.

And for the fifth straight year, multiple Griz programs have achieved the recognition

Montana's women's cross country team was honored for the sixth time in six years, while men's tennis was recognized for the first.

The department's women's basketball, women's golf, softball and women's tennis programs have been past recipients of Public Recognition Awards.

Now in their 13th year, NCAA Public Recognition Awards are based on APR, which is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams.

APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation.

The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years.

Nine schools from the Big Sky Conference earned 20 Public Recognition Awards, headlined by North Dakota's four. Idaho State and Sacramento State each had three, Eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana and Northern Colorado had two.

More than 1,280 teams from 312 Division I schools were honored with Public Recognition Awards.

Brown led all Division I schools with 20 teams earning Public Recognition Awards, followed by Holy Cross with 19. By percentage, Villanova led the nation with 82 percent of its squads receiving recognition.

APR scores for all Division I teams will be released on May 23. Teams must meet an academic threshold of 930 to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance.

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