Since the athletic grade point average tracking started five years ago, athletes now have a higher average GPA than non-athletes.
Sharon Wood, Director of Athletic Training, is the person whose curiosity started the tracking of athletic GPA. Wood started tracking the GPA because she wanted to disprove the stereotype that athletes on campus are not up to par with all other students.
When GPA tracking started in 2011, the average GPA of athletes was 3.09 and 3.04 during the first two semesters. As of last spring, the average GPA was 3.11.
When asked how she felt about this achievement, Wood stated that she was “extremely proud” of the athletes.
Athletes are required to put a lot of time into their sports and that can sometimes take away from academics. According to Wood, between meetings and practices, student athletes spend a minimum of 20 hours every week focusing on the sport that they play.
“These special students are fully actualizing their learning potential,” said Noah Bowman, Assistant Director of Learning Services.
Stephen Prinzo, a freshman center on the Fighting Scots football team, said, “We’re just starting to roll when everyone else is going to bed.”
This is because while most students are doing homework, going to study groups and eating dinner, the athletes are in practice.
Wood gave a lot of credit to Bowman and the Academic Support Center. Bowman works with all of the freshman athletes, specifically in Cooper Success Center.
Bowman referred to Cooper Success Center as “a place that provides for our younger student-athletes effective academic and athletic positive peer models to work alongside with, both collaboratively and independently.”
Another person who gave credit to Bowman is Brad Varner, a junior offensive guard on the football team. He stated that he was “not too surprised” when he heard that the athletic GPA was higher because of the “help from Noah Bowman and the commitment of the coaches.”
Bowman said that the increased athletic GPA being higher makes a lot of sense.
“If student-athletes actualize their true learning potential, then there is really no stopping them both academically and professionally,” said Bowman.
Wood stated that coaches do not recruit students who would not be successful at Maryville College. If the coaches were just looking for talented athletes, then the retention rate would be very low. MC is known for its rigorous curriculum. Therefore, coaches have to look for good players as well as good students.
Varner said, the coaches tell them that they are “here for school not for football.”
With this attitude, the athletes are bound to do great things both in their sport and in the classroom.
The GPA rankings are a very fluid thing according to Wood. The regular students are not to be dismissed by this. Wood expressed that all students at MC have earned their spot on this campus.