Division I athletes at NAU and around the country have recognized that the “student” in every student-athlete is critical to achieving success in and out of the classroom. The NCAA recently announced that the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) is at an all-time high: 79 percent of all Division I student-athletes who enrolled in college in 2002 earned their degree.
The NCAA sees academic success as the future for both intercollegiate athletics and the student-athletes who participate, and poured millions of dollars into ensuring that student-athletes have the resources they need. NAU has benefited from the increased funds for academic support, as our Lumberjack academic support staff has doubled in the past five years.
Some more stats:
• Student-Athletes’ GSR is two percent higher than the general population of college students. This can be attributed to increased eligibility standards required to participate in athletic programs
• Men’s Basketball and Baseball have increased dramatically, with Football’s rates decreasing slightly
How does NAU compare
Here at NAU, academic success of our student-athletes is phenomenal!
• Our current GSR is 70 percent, but we are confident that the rates have been increasing (as seen by our most recent Academic Progress Rates).
• The Federal Graduation Rate for all students at NAU is 53 percent, and in comparison, the graduation rates for all student-athletes at NAU are 60 percent!!
• The NAU athletic department’s cumulative GPA is over 3.00, almost unheard of in Division I FCS schools
• 180 of our student-athletes have at least a 3.00 GPA of higher
• Our 2009 Soccer Big Sky Champions have the highest team GPA with an unbelievable 3.45!!
Recently, junior Kristi Andreassen became the first soccer player in the Lumberjack program history to earn All-American academic honors. Andreassen, a native of Tempe, AZ was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Second Team for earning a 4.0 cumulative GPA in her four semesters as an Exercise Science major. In addition to her academic success, Andreassen has established herself as a force on the field as well being named to the All-Big Sky First Team in 2008 and 2009.
Regarding her most recent accolade, Andreassen stated “I am honored to receive this award because it shows how hard I work not only on the field but also in class. Being a student-athlete is not easy at all. Not only do you have to perform at your best level, you must also succeed in the classroom. It is definitely a lot of pressure to put on one person. My success has come from believing in myself and not letting anything get in the way of what I want!”
As an Academic Advisor, hearing the successes that the Lumberjacks achieve in the classroom is a thrill. Student-athletes have many more responsibilities than the general student body, and our athletes have shown that they pursue their future success with rigor in both arenas. Diana and I have the privilege to work with these student-athletes to help them meet their goals, and share in their success when they are achieved.
Many of you have heard or seen the NCAA public Service campaign tag line “There are over 380,000 student athletes, and most of us go pro in something other than sports.” This is what Diana Ulrey and I, as Academic advisors/coordinators spend our days ensuring and we encourage all student-athletes to come visit us and take an active role in their academic success. Being a Division I student-athlete is short lived, but the life skills developed through success on and off the playing field will last a lifetime.