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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

STUDENT ATHLETES: Head of the class

All of the University athletic teams won a Mid-American Conference championship last school year.

It was not from work done on the field or court, however, but for the work done by the student-athletes in the classroom during the 2000-2001 academic year.

The University received the Mid-American Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award, which is given to the school in the MAC with the highest overall GPA among its athletes. It is the third time the University has won the award since its inception in 1995.

“We want to give credit to student athletes who not only put time in on the field, but in the classroom as well,” said Krista Plummer, director of administrations for the MAC.

The 3.19 GPA among University student-athletes during the last academic year was higher than the average GPA for all other undergraduate students, which was a 3.14. According to Darren Hamilton, assistant athletic director in the Office of Student Athlete Services, that is impressive because there may be more pressure placed on the athletes.

“There is more pressure on the athletic department for students to do well because people give money to the program,” he said. “We have to make sure that money is going to good use.”

Over the last several years the GPA within the athletic department has gradually risen. When the University won the MAC GPA award in 1995 and 1996, its average GPA was 2.88 and 2.89 respectively. The GPA among the Universities student athletes in 1998 was a 2.90. It was 2.93 in 1999 and 2.97 in 2000.

According to Hamilton, the main factors for the rise in GPA are the several programs offered to the student-athletes.

Study tables are offered every Sunday through Thursday night in Moseley Hall, where students can go and study for two hours. The athletic department also works cooperatively with the office of academic enhancement, providing the athletes with tutors whenever needed.

“It wasn’t just one office, it wasn’t just one department, it was a collaborative effort (winning the award),” Hamilton said.

While the athletic department has provided extra study sessions to help its athletes, the coaches also have set standards for their individual teams.

“Anyone who is in their first semester here or has a GPA under 2.75 needs to attend the study table at least six hours a week,” said Denise Van De Walle, head volleyball coach.

However, she said members of her team do not usually need to attend because the team’s GPA is about a 3.5. This comes from the fact that she recruits students out of high school that had a 3.0 GPA and scored well on the SAT and ACT.

“I think academics are very important. It’s a key component in my recruiting process,” she said. “I like to have kids that have already proven they are successful in the classroom and on the court.”

Although the University has won the award for highest MAC GPA twice, Paul Krebs, athletic director, does not expect it to be a yearly occurrence.

“Our desire is to have the premier athletic program in the Mid-American Conference,” he said. “You’re not going to win this award every year but it is something you strive for.”

Not only did the University have the highest GPA in the MAC, it also had the highest graduation rate among its athletes with 70 percent.

“You’d like to graduate 100 percent of your students, but the reality is that’s not going to happen,” Krebs said.

The competition for the GPA award is strong. The lowest average GPA in the conference was a 2.75 for Northern Illinois.

“It speaks to really what the Mid-American Conference is about, athletic and academic success,” Krebs said.

Krebs said the University will continue to strive for continued success from its student athletes.

“I certainly hope we continue to perform well in the classroom,” he said. “Whether that means we’re going to win this award every year is hard to predict. I am firm believer that the better the student, the better the athlete.”

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