Student-athletes earn record 3.157 GPA last semester; women’s soccer sets all-time high team mark

June 4, 2009 | News
By Paul Helgren

UT student-athletes earned a collective grade point average of 3.157 spring semester, by far the highest GPA since the department began keeping records in 1991. The previous high mark was 3.059 in the 2006 spring semester.

The 3.157 GPA also marked the sixth time in the last eight semesters that UT student-athletes earned a combined GPA over a 3.0. Additionally, 11 of UT’s 15 sport programs had team GPAs of 3.0 or above.

Individually, 24 student-athletes earned perfect 4.0 GPAs last fall, while 113 individuals (more than 33 percent) earned a spot on the dean’s list by garnering at least a 3.50 GPA.

What’s more, 57 percent (192 of 336) of UT student-athletes achieved a 3.0 grade point average or better for spring semester, the second-highest percentage above a 3.0 in school history and the 11th consecutive semester in which at least half of Rocket student-athletes earned a 3.0+ GPA.

“I am very proud of our student-athletes for this terrific achievement,” Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “A combined grade point average of 3.157 is a fantastic number. This clearly was our best semester academically since I’ve been athletic director [2002]. Everyone involved with the academic success our student-athletes — our coaches, staff and University faculty — shares in this accomplishment.”

Women’s soccer led the way with a team GPA of 3.685, the highest ever recorded by a Rocket squad. The previous high mark was 3.683, set by women’s soccer in the 2006 spring semester. Other teams above a 3.5 GPA were women’s cross country (3.613) and women’s tennis (3.505).

“I would like to congratulate Coach Brad Evans and the women’s soccer team,” O’Brien said. “Not only did they win their third straight MAC Championship last fall, they also compiled an incredible 3.685 team grade point average. They have set a standard for academic and athletic excellence for which they can be very proud.”

Another bright spot academically was the dramatic improvement of the football team. The football team’s GPA rose from 2.370 last fall to 2.922 this spring, an average increase of more than half a grade per player.

“Head coach Tim Beckman and his staff deserve a lot of credit for the improving academic performance of our football players,” O’Brien said. “They brought in some new ideas and challenged the team to improve in the classroom. The results were immediate and dramatic. Rocket football fans everywhere can be very proud of the efforts of their team.”

Beckman, who took over as UT’s head football coach last December, instituted a number of changes to the program. For example, he divided his squad into eight “teams” that compete in all areas, including academics. He requires his players to sit in the first two rows in class and to meet personally with their instructors at the start of the semester. He also enlisted the aid of volunteer “encouragers” to ensure that the players are attending class and following the team policies.

Beckman said the positive outcome was a result of teamwork.

“It was a total commitment to the plan from players to staff members,” Beckman said. “Each player was held accountable to himself and his teammates to improve in all academic phases.”

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