According to a recent study, Texas State student athletes have higher GPAs than the overall campus population and other athletic programs in the state, which officials credit to support from faculty and staff members.
The study, conducted by the Athletic Academic Center at Texas State, shows the average overall Texas State cumulative GPA was 2.77 with a graduation success rate of 57.3 percent. Student athletes at Texas State had a cumulative GPA of 2.81 with a graduation success rate of 69 percent.
Texas State athletes also have higher graduation success rates than student athletes at other public schools in the state, according to the study.
“We looked at all Division I institutions that have football. We took out Baylor, Rice, SMU and TCU because they are all private institutions,” said Matt Phelps, student development specialist with the center. “As of the 2004 cohort year, Texas State had the highest average graduation success rate of student athletes among public schools that offer football in the state of Texas.”
For example, Texas State had higher athlete graduation rates than Texas A&M and Texas Tech University, Phelps said. He credited this success to the support from faculty, staff and students across campus.
The information in the study was taken from a five-year period called a cohort. The cohort is used because not all students graduate at the same rate, Phelps said.
The Athletic Academic Center provides study hall hours and academic advisers, and sends out progress reports three times per semester to student athletes, Phelps said.
“Being a student athlete, we have numerous resources to help make us successful in the classroom,” said Molly Ahrens, Texas State volleyball senior. “Along with mandatory study hall, our academic advisors help us stay on top of our grades and assignments, so we have no room for failure.”
Phelps said the center receives progress reports from professors who have student athletes in their classes. The professors answer questions about student athletes in their classes regarding excessive student absences, test grades and course marks, according to Phelps.
Phelps said athletes have university officials looking out for them to make sure they are successful students.
“Our office has the resources, but it is the coaching staff that requires these student athletes to come get study hall hours,” Phelps said. “They have to be here anywhere between eight to 10 hours a week, every week, every semester.”
The study broke down cumulative GPAs by teams, indicating women’s golf players have the highest GPA of any Texas State athletic team. Women’s golf players had a cumulative GPA of 3.48 for the 2012 to 2013 academic year, .71 points higher than the student body average.
Phelps said golf coach Mike Akers checks in on a weekly basis to see how well his team members are performing in their classes.
“Credit has to go to Coach Akers,” Phelps said. “He recruits not only great golfers but also great academic students. Coach Akers and I communicate constantly about mentor meetings and grades coming back from classes. He is extremely active in the students’ lives.”
The study showed in nine out of the 14 semesters recorded in the study, walk-on athletes had a higher overall GPA than scholarship athletes.
According to Phelps, walk-on athletes have a higher GPA because of their academic background before joining a team. Phelps said walk-on athletes who join a team in the middle of their collegiate careers already have some credit hours completed beforehand.
The study only recorded the GPAs of walk-on athletes while they are on Texas State teams. Walk-on athletes’ GPAs are more likely to improve after joining a team because they take advantage of the resources the center offers, Phelps said.