Melick: APR is the biggest game coaches play

Nick Saban is justifiably proud of Alabama’s improved APR numbers.
Earlier this week the NCAA released its annual grades known as “Academic Progress Rates,” a rolling four-year measure of Division I athletes’ basic progress toward graduation.

The Crimson Tide football team received a 955 score, placing it in the top 20 to 30 percent of Division I.
Seven teams at three schools in Alabama were hit with penalties: Auburn men’s basketball, swimming and track; UAB football and men’s basketball; and Jacksonville State football and men’s basketball.
Does that mean Saban and Alabama are recruiting better students? Or does it mean the Alabama athletic department — with its multimillion dollar state-of-the-art academic center — has simply become better at buying academic progress for its athletes?