SDSU student athletes perform well in classroom

Faith Moldan

Faith Moldan

SDSU athletes are scoring big in the classroom as well as the playing field.

At the Dec. 16 and 17, 2004, South Dakota Board of Regents meeting, the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs presented the Athletic Academic Report. The report contained ACT English and Math scores and GPAs of the six South Dakota universities. Scores of student athletes and all students were compared as well as the scores of scholarship and non-scholarship athletes. These numbers were taken from the spring and fall semesters of 2003.

In accordance with the BOR, all schools must provide information on their athletic programs each year that includes, “Comparisons by sports of participating athletes, scholarship athletes, and the student population on admissions by exception, ACT sub test scores in math and English for entering students, proficiency exam passage on initial attempt, GPA, and graduation rates.”

The average ACT English subscores for all athletes in all sports at each university did not surpass the average of all students system-wide. The ACT Math subscores were above average.

Each university saw the GPA of all student athletes exceed the GPA of the student population.

SDSU athletes and student population was edged out of the top scores for English ACT by SDSMT by a mere 1-2 point differential. The same held true for the Math ACT scores.

In terms of GPA, the SDSU athletes had an average GPA of 2.89 and the student population 2.69. The student athletes finished on top in that category, with Northern State University a close second with 2.87 and 2.65.

When recruiting athletes, coaches not only assess the individuals athletic ability but also their academic capabilities.

Women’s basketball head coach Aaron Johnston said that they recruit the person based on their body of work that includes what they do as a player, as a student and for their community.

“If one of these pieces is out of line we don’t recruit them,” Johnston said.

Cross country and track coach Rod DeHaven said he looks at how likely they are to perform well academically as well as athletically.

In the past the women’s basketball team has had an average GPA of 3.3, which is above the SDSU average for student athletes. The team had a GPA of 3.51 last semester.

“We talk about class work daily and stress academics as well as points and rebounds,” Johnston said.

When on road trips the team takes part in study tables and down time to complete class work. There is also a plaque in the locker room for academics that has the names of those with a 3.5 and 4.0 GPA.

DeHaven said that many of the cross country and track team members already push themselves to do well athletically and this work ethic carries over to the classroom. The women’s cross-country team had a GPA of 3.74 last semester and the men 3.4.

“I’m delighted that our student athletes are doing well,” DeHaven said.