North Texas Daily

Student athletes have best GPA in more than 10 years

Student athletes have best GPA in more than 10 years

April 16
22:31 2013

Tim Cato / Senior Staff Writer

The term “student-athlete” is used for college athletics for a reason – class and sports stand on equal ground. Student athletes must manage homework, tests and projects before worrying about practice, games and road trips – something professional athletes never have to worry about.

Despite the challenges, UNT athletes are finding the perfect balance between the two this year. As a whole, UNT student-athletes had a 3.01 grade point average in the 2012 fall semester.

“We have slowly improved overall as a department,” said Cinnamon Sheffield, the senior associate athletic director for student services. “This past fall was our highest GPA since I’ve been here, since 2001.”

Sheffield is responsible for student academics, helping to get everyone on track. She, along with several academic advisors on staff, meets with the head coaches. Coaches also receive a “good, bad and ugly” report, letting coaches know which players have tests or projects coming up that they need to be studying for.

“When you get the coaches to buy into the overall program, that’s what happens [3.01 GPA],” Sheffield said.

Certain UNT teams and players stand out above the rest. The Mean Green volleyball team won its first ever American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award in 2011 and followed it up with another in 2012. The award is given to any team that maintains a 3.3 team GPA.

UNT’s swimming and diving team went a step further – it finished No. 1 in the nation among all other Division I swimming and diving squads with a team GPA of 3.62. Other UNT teams boast similar national recognition.

It depends on the player for what strategy they will use to help stay afloat. Women’s basketball junior guard Hannah Christian, who had a 4.0 semester in the fall, said she does her work as soon as it’s assigned.

Volleyball sophomore Hanna Forst said she was a “complete hermit” during weekdays, and if she does well, she rewards herself with social activities on Friday and Saturday.

And volleyball freshman Carnae Dillard frequently visits the Student-Athlete Academic Center.

“All the time,” she said. “It’s very useful for athletes. You’ve got people over there all the time, who can help you with anything. They’re good at what they do.”

The Student-Athlete Academic Center is one of the major tools for athletes to stay on top of their grades. Located in the Mean Green Village across from the Volleyball Center, the Academic Center has computers and printers available, and offers tutoring for students who need help in a certain subject.

Sheffield makes sure that students and coaches have plenty of resources to pull from.

“The main focus has been academics and getting everyone on track,” Sheffield said. “We make sure they have enough support to do everything they need to do.”

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