Lost in the competition, culture and championships of collegiate athletics is why most student-athletes are even there in the first place--to achieve academically.
TV markets, conference-based networks, ESPN, various scouting websites and more focus on revenue increases have out-shadowed the importance put on what each individual does in the classroom.
Thankfully, some still choose to shine an equally bright light on history and physics books as they do on playbooks.
KENT, Ohio — One-third of Kent State’s varsity sports rank in the top 30 percent nationally when compared to all other sports in the NCAA Division I 2008-09 Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Report released Wednesday (June 9).
The Golden Flashes’ women’s cross country team led the way with perfect 1,000 in the multiyear report, which includes data submitted for the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years. In addition, men’s cross country (994), baseball (993), women’s golf (991), women’s soccer (989) and gymnastics (986) were also ranked highly when compared to their peers.
During the 2008-09 year, baseball, women’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s soccer and softball each posted a perfect mark. None of the Golden Flashes’ 18 varsity teams will be subject to any penalties.
“I’d like to congratulate our student-athletes and coaches for their hard work and dedication to making academics a priority each and every day,” Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen said. “The support we receive from the Kent State University faculty and staff is tremendous and our athletic academic team does a great job under the direction of Jennifer Kulics.
“Now our goal is to go out and improve upon those numbers,” Nielsen continued. “That expectation will be backed up with resources such as our highly-skilled tutoring staff and the current expansion of our George L. Jenkins Athletic Academic Resource Center.”
The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete currently receiving financial aid. The APR includes eligibility, retention, and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.
Now in its sixth year, the APR measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. It also serves as a predictor of graduation success. The Division I Board of Directors set cut scores of 925 and 900 (out of 1,000) as thresholds for teams to meet or face possible immediate and historical sanctions. The goal of academic reform is improvement, not punishment. Not only does academic reform ensure accountability for student-athletes, teams and institutions, but also it provides fairness by considering individual circumstances per team and school.
APR scores per institution, along with penalties per school and teams receiving public recognition, are available online at www.ncaa.org.